April 26, 2008

Did Bill Moyers act as Jeremiah Wright's PR agent or did he ask some good journalistic questions?

I watched last night's episode of "Bill Moyers Journal," dealing with Trinity United Church of Christ and Jeremiah Wright.

The introduction emphasized the good works of the church — its ministry to the poor and sick — but the positivity got a little hard to take at this point:
Trinity has long had strong ties with the African roots of its faith. Parishioners are asked to respect what they call the Black Value System, to rededicate themselves to God, the black family, and the black community, reinforcing the motto that they are "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian."
Nothing about the "Disavowal of the Pursuit of “Middleclassness'" that people find troubling. I'm suspicious. Let's look at the transcript of the interview and see if Moyers simply acted as Wright's PR agent or if he asked some hard, journalistic questions.

The first candidate for a hard question is "So, when Trinity Church says it is unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian, is it embracing a race-based theology?"

Wright answers:
No, it is not. It is embracing Christianity without giving up Africanity. A lotta the missionaries were going to other countries assuming that our culture is superior, that you have no culture. And to be a Christian, you must be like us. Right now, you can go to Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and see Christians in 140-degree weather. They have to have on a tie. Because that's what it means to be a Christian. Well, it's that kind of assuming that our culture, "We have the only sacred music. You must sing our music. You must use a pipe organ. You cannot use your instrument." It's that kind of assumption that in the field of missions, people say, "You know what? We're doing this wrong. We need to take Christ and leave culture at home. We need to learn the culture of people into which we're moving, and preach the methods of Jesus Christ using the culture that we are a part of." Well, the same thing happened with Christians in this country when they said, "You know what? Because those same missionaries who went south, they didn't let us sing gospel music." That was not sacred —
Wright is going on about music, which no one who's worried about what is happening at Trinity Church is going to be upset about. Moyers doesn't press him with harder questions, but prompts him to keep running in this easy direction by saying "They were singin' the great Anglican hymns." Wright takes the encouragement. There's another long paragraph in the transcript about music, followed by a paragraph that generalizes to the level of "culture."

Wright concludes:
God has diverse culture, God has — and we're proud of who we are because that's the statement the congregation was making, not a race-based theology.
Moyers doesn't press him with any evidence that the church has a race-based ideology. He just makes a vague reference to the things outsiders have been saying: "So, God is not, contrary to some of the rumors that have been circulated about Trinity, God is not exclusively or totally identified with just the black community?" That question is framed in a way that makes it easy to say no: exclusively, totally... Were we not supposed to notice that? The church could be rabidly racial about Christianity 99% of the time and the answer to the question would still be no.

Wright must feel cozily comfortable sitting across the table from this puffball. Wright starts listing the non-black ethnic groups that attend the church, and Moyers moves on to the blandest question in the world, "What does the church service on Sunday morning mean in general to the black community?"

The second candidate for a hard question comes a little later. Moyers says:
Lots of controversy about black liberation theology. As I understand it, black liberation theology reads the [B]ible through the experience of people who have suffered, and who then are able to say to themselves that we read the [B]ible differently, because we have struggled, than those do who have not struggled. Is that a fair bumper sticker of liberation theology?
Moyers doesn't just sit back and let Wright filibuster here. There's some back-and-forth, but let's examine it:
REVEREND WRIGHT: I think that's a fair bumper sticker. I think that the terms "liberation theology" or "black liberation theology" cause more problems and red flags for people who don't understand it.

BILL MOYERS: When I hear the word "black liberation theology" being the interpretation of scripture from the oppressed, I think well, that's the Jewish story--

REVEREND WRIGHT: Exactly, exactly.
Moyers jumped right in to cue Wright to explain liberation theology in an easy way. Wright takes the cue and recounts the oppression of the Jews in the Biblical stories. Moyers prompts him to talk about the prophets who "hated the waywardness of Israel," who "were calling Israel out of love back to justice, not damning Israel." Here, Moyers is playing PR agent, setting up the opportunity for Wright to explain his anti-American statements. And the subject of liberation theology is left in the dust! We are given no substance about what liberation theology has meant in modern political movements and nothing to help us think about whether membership in Wright's church has something to do with extremist left-wing politics.

Wright hits the softball and says that the prophets "were saying that God was in fact, if you look at the damning, condemning, if you look at Deuteronomy, it talks about blessings and curses, how God doesn't bless everything." He goes on for a bit about the things "God doesn't bless" — which is to say, the things God damns — and Moyers finally breaks in with a question about Wright's notorious "God damn America." The PBS website transcribes the question this way:
One of the most controversial sermons that you preach is the sermon you preach that ended up being that sound bite about Goddamn America.
So, Moyers has incorporated the the standard defense — it's just a sound bite — into what can be our third candidate for a hard question.

Moyers plays a long chunk of the sermon that ends "God damn America," and asks "What did you mean when you said that?"

Wright answers that governments can deviate from the will of God and says "you are made in the image of God, you're not made in the image of any particular government." What should follow is a statement about the degree of allegiance people owe to their country, but Wright jumps to an invocation of free speech: "We have the freedom here in this country to talk about that publicly, whereas some other places, you're dead if say the wrong thing about your government."

At this point, Moyers could follow up either with a question about the allegiance religious people owe to a country they think has deviated from the will of God or a question about how, while it's true that Americans have free speech, free speech includes criticizing the things people say. But Moyers observes, inanely: "Well, you can be almost crucified for saying what you've said here in this country." Moyers extends his heartfelt sympathy to Wright for the suffering — the suffering of Christ! — he's endured over mere words.

Wright accepts the comforting: "That's true. That's true. But you can be crucified, you can be crucified publicly, you can be crucified by corporate-owned media." You know, you could be nailed to a cross or you could be lambasted in the media. The corporate-owned media. (Getting criticized on independent blogs may not quite equate with crucifixion. Maybe we bloggers correspond to mere flogging or piercing with thorns.)

Wright brings up Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Dr. King, of course, was vilified. And most of us forget that after he was assassinated, but the year before he was assassinated, April 4th, 1967 at the Riverside Church, he talked about racism, militarism and capitalism. He became vilified. He got ostracized not only by the majority of Americans in the press; he got vilified by his own community. They thought he had overstepped his bounds. He was no longer talking about civil rights and being able to sit down at lunch counters that he should not talk about things like the war in Vietnam.
King entered the political fray, and people debated politics. Some people agreed with him and some didn't, but he was a powerful voice in important political debates. He wasn't above the debate, but part of it, and people argued with him. What is wrong with that?

Moyers notes: "Lyndon Johnson was furious at that," and lets Wright deliver a mini-sermon about King's efforts on behalf of the poor, which concludes: "That part of King is not talked about because we want to keep that away from the public eye, and the public memory, and it's been 40 years now." Talk about it then! It's a free country. What I'm seeing in that conclusion is a whiff of left-wing politics, but Moyers does nothing here to follow up about what lies beneath that statement or God damn America. Instead, Moyers shifts to the problem that Americans have with hearing their country criticized:
What is your notion of why so many Americans seem not to want to hear the full Monty...
(The full Monty?)
... they don't want to seem to acknowledge that a nation capable of greatness is also capable of cruelty?
Eh. Moyers signals that he's absolved Wright and wants to move on to the more fun topic of what's wrong with those terrible Americans who want to crucify him.

Wright says we're miseducated because "after every revolution, the winners of that revolution write down what the revolution was about so that their children can learn it, whether it's true or not." Americans believe a "myth" about our country, so he's seen as "desecrating what we hold sacred."

Wheeling out big words, Wright says Americans don't understand "etymology" — "condemn, D-E-M-N, D-A-M-N" — and they don't understand "hermeneutic" — "the window from which you're looking is your hermeneutic."

At this point, Wright is going back to the subject Moyers tried to show him the path out of. Wright says "I've been framed" — and he means that as an intellectual joke. You know your "hermeneutic" is your window frame, and you've looked him through it. You've "framed" him. He gets carried away here, and Moyers lets him go, probably because he thinks it's good for Wright to dazzle PBS viewers by talking like an intellectual. But it's a messy rant:
This whole thing has been framed through this window, there's another world out here that I'm not looking at or taking into account, it gives you a perspective that — that is-- that is informed by and limited by your hermeneutic. Dr. James Cone put it this way. The God of the people who riding on the decks of the slave ship is not the God of the people who are riding underneath the decks as slaves in chains. If the God you're praying to, "Bless our slavery" is not the God to whom these people are praying, saying, "God, get us out of slavery." And it's not like Notre Dame playing Michigan. You're saying flip a coin; hope God blesses the winning team, no. That the perception of God who allows slavery, who allows rape, who allows misogyny, who allows sodomy, who allows murder of a people, lynching, that's not the God of the people being lynched and sodomized and raped, and carried away into a foreign country. Same thing you find in Psalm 137. That those people who are carried away into slavery have a very different concept of what it means to be the people of God than the ones who carried them away.
Moyers helps out by bringing back the easy old music theme:
And they say, "How can we sing the song of the Lord of a foreign land?"
The fourth candidate for a hard question is implied by this statement: "That chapter [Psalm 137] ends up with some very brutal words. You used them in one of your sermons." Wright understands the question to call for an explanation of his post-9/11 speech. He speaks first of his pain over 9/11 and explains the thinking behind his sermon:
I had to preach. They came to church wanting to know where is God in this. And so, I had to show them using that Psalm 137, how the people who were carried away into slavery were very angry, very bitter, moved and in their anger from wanting revenge against the armies that had carried them away to slavery, to the babies. That Psalm ends up sayin' "Let's kill the baby-let's bash their heads against the stone." So, now you move from revolt and revulsion as to what has happened to you, to you want revenge. You move from anger with the military to taking it out on the innocents. You wanna kill babies. That's what's going on in Psalm 137. And that's exactly where we are. We want revenge. They wanted revenge. God doesn't wanna leave you there, however. God wants redemption. God wants wholeness. And that's the context, the biblical context I used to try to get people sitting again, in that sanctuary on that Sunday following 9/11, who wanted to know where is God in this? What is God saying? What is God saying? Because I want revenge.
I think he's saying that the Psalm — God speaking? — is saying that people who have suffered want revenge and feel motivated to do terrible things. But he's really held himself open to a terrible interpretation — and calling it my "hermeneutic" isn't going to help. "What is God saying? What is God saying? Because I want revenge." What is Wright saying? That's going to sound to a lot of people as though he's saying 9/11 was God's revenge on America. He quotes the Psalm: "Blessed are they who dash your baby's brains against a rock." Well, now, it really sounds as though he's saying that God blesses the 9/11 hijackers! God damns America and God blesses the hijackers? Wright has not backed down. He's stepped up.

Can Moyers probe? Help us out here, Bill. The obvious question is: Are you saying that God blesses the hijackers, that they were righteous in God's eyes? At this point, we get a long segment from the sermon. It's not a "sound bite." It goes on and on, and it's awful. His words are terrible, and the cheering from the congregation is sickening.

Moyers asks:
You preached that sermon on the Sunday after 9-11 -- almost 7 years ago. When people saw the sound bites from it this year, they were upset because you seemed to be blaming America. Did you somehow fail to communicate?
Well, I just listened to it — not merely with sound bites — and I'm upset, and I certainly think Wright was blaming America. Did you somehow fail to communicate? A tougher way to put it would be: It sounds to me like you were blaming America; did you somehow not mean what you said?

Wright:
The persons who have heard the entire sermon understand the communication perfectly. What is not the failure to communicate is when something is taken like a sound bite for a political purpose and put constantly over and over again, looped in the face of the public.
Oh, spare me. The "sound bite" defense outrages me after listening to the long clip. This is eely wriggling off the hook. Own up to what you said!
That's not a failure to communicate. Those who are doing that are communicating exactly what they wanna do, which is to paint me as some sort of fanatic or as the learned journalist from the New York Times called me, a "wack-a-doodle."
Oh, this is the sound bite from the interview that was making the rounds the day before the show aired! Amazing!
It's to paint me as something. Something's wrong with me. There's nothing wrong with this country. There's -its policies. We're perfect. We-our hands are free. Our hands have no blood on them. That's not a failure to communicate. The message that is being communicated by the sound bites is exactly what those pushing those sound bites want to communicate.
Spare me. He blamed America for 9/11. It's right there in the long version!

Moyers lobs him another softball: "What do you think they wanted to communicate?"

Wright:
I think they wanted to communicate that I am- unpatriotic, that I am un-American, that I am filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ.
That's what it looked like on the clip I just watched. It didn't take any mysterious, corporate "they." You said it! Moyers lets him go on, saying the "sound bite" was "unfair... unjust... untrue" and attributing "very devious reasons" to the media. Moyers musters a probe: "Such as?"

Wright:
To put an element of fear and hatred and to stir up the anxiety of American who still don't know the African-American church, know nothing about the prophetic theology of the African-American experience, who know nothing about the black church, who don't even know how we got a black church.
What would a good journalist ask at this point? I'd ask: Why are you saying they would do that? What are the "devious reasons"? You're saying the media who reported what you said, who showed a clip of you speaking, wanted to foment racism in this country?

But no, puffball Bill, asks Wright to tell us about the feelings of his wounded congregation: "What can you tell me about what's happened at the church since this controversy broke?" Wright informs us that they are "very upset." They should be upset to see themselves cheering and nodding at Wright's vicious words.
Our members know that this is what the media is doing. And our members know they're only doing it because of the political campaign.
It's funny how Wright attacks Americans for our lack of self-criticism, when he and, by his report, his congregation are utterly devoid of self-criticism. Blame the media. Blame corporations. Do you ever do anything wrong?

Moyers invites him to talk about death threats. There have been death threats. Of course, those are wrong, but Moyers is missing the opportunity to push Wright about the things that he is not owning up to. Wheel in the faceless bad people to distract us.

And here's the next question, which is most emphatically not a tough journalistic question: "Did you ever imagine that you would come to personify the black anger that so many whites fear?"
No. I did not. I have been preaching as I've been preaching since I was ordained 41 years ago.
But the sermon we just saw was full of anger. The fact that you've been preaching for a long time is no assurance that you are not angry and bent on stirring up anger in the people who look to you for inspiration. Moyers blandly and lamely implies that "many whites" are racists and have wrongly fixated on Wright as the personification of the things they irrationally fear. Again the faceless bad people are a convenient distraction. Why can't we talk about the actual sermons and what they mean?

Rather insanely, Moyers goes back to the music theme: "I think of how important music is to your church at times like this, that's intentional isn't it?" Wright proceeds to lecture about music. The word "suicide" appears in the lecture and Moyers perks up: "What is it you said about suicide?" Singing the blues is soothing to black people, Wright says, and Moyers uses this as a cue to give Wright yet another chance to tell Americans how much we've hurt him: "So what blues are you singing right now?" He says "what man meant for evil, God meant for good," and Moyers leads him into a mini-sermon about finding the good in a bad situation. Wright thinks that it was good that Obama had to give that "very powerful speech" about race.

The mention of Obama gives Moyers a chance to ask what might be a hard question — it would be the fifth candidate: "In the 20 years that you've been your pastor, have you ever heard him repeat any of your controversial statements as his opinion?"

Wright:
No. No. No. Absolutely not. I don't talk to him about politics. And so here at a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of god about the things of God.
Moyers follows up: "in that speech at Philadelphia, had to say" — had to say! — "some hard things about you. How, how did it go down with you when you heard Barack Obama say those things?"

Wright picks up Moyers's "had to say" cue:
He's a politician, I'm a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. Those are two different worlds. I do what I do. He does what politicians do
In the sixth candidate for a hard question, Moyers asks Wright about his "long complicated" relationship with Louis Farrakhan. Wright praises Farrakhan for helping people "change their lives for the better." "People listen" when Farrakhan speaks, he says.

Moyers has no follow-up question. He goes on to: "What does it say to you that millions Americans, according to polls, still think Barack Obama is a Muslim?" Answer: "corporate media and miseducation or misinformation or disinformation." And the final question is about how "[o]ur denomination, the United Church of Christ has called for a sacred conversation on race in America." This is a warm, fuzzy question. Wright rambles through an answer and we reach the end of the show.

Do you think Moyers asked hard questions? He started to six times, by my count, but I think it's quite clear that he was there to support Wright and give him a comfy setting and words of encouragement and sympathy.

ADDED: Protein Wisdom has some extended analysis. I especially appreciate this:
If Moyers had any journalistic integrity he might have gone beyond a bumper-sticker understanding of Black Liberation Theology and asked about the underlying Marxist frame work of liberation theologies in general....

... Wright’s characterization [of himself as acting in the religious sphere while Obama acts as a politician] is essentially false, given that Black Liberation Theology – and liberation theology generally – is at its core a religious casting of Leftist political activism, and that this is precisely what appealed to Obama about Wright and TUCC.
AND: Excellent commentary from vbspurs:
It was astoundingly condenscending, and very off-putting to see a man who feels he's been railroaded, when it is merely his own words which did him in....

No, Reverend. You're going to have to understand what you said is wrong, and moreover, you've caused a lot of damage to your acolyte, Senator Obama.

When minority leaders are caught with their pants down, they ask that the topic of race be "at last" explored.

This is their way of saying that what their words would be more fully understood if people (namely, the white "power structure") understood their struggle and tears better.

Sorry. Not only have we been exploring this topic in earnest for 40 years now, but this isn't going to be another time when all you do to justify your hateful words is to cry racism.

AND: Cjsmith defends God and Psalm 137, and to that I say that I'm not trying to say what the Psalm really means, only what it sounds like Wright is saying. I do think Smith underplays the line "Blessed are they who dash your baby's brains against a rock." Even if the speaker is not God — and I don't assume it is — to say something is "blessed" is to say that God blesses it. So I think it is an expression of the belief that God is well pleased when those who have reason to feel vengeful take their revenge even on an innocent baby.

111 comments:

John Lynch said...

Holy cow. That was the longest post I've ever seen here.

Any question asked of Wright tends to be revealing. He just can't help it.

madawaskan said...

Well I'm off to go figure out Bill "Puffball" Moyers background-but I couldn't help coming back really fast to drop a link to this photo of him-

Ha! This ain't the Bill Moyers that showed up for that interview-

Photo

John Lynch-

Well anything else would be just a corporate America media soundbite-

Sheesh-you can't win!

Der Hahn said...

It was Bill Moyers of LBJ's 'Daisy' commercial fame fer Chrissakes! Did you *really* expect any questions leading to answers that would damage a Democrat?

Chip Ahoy said...

You've got a lot more patience for these two people than I do. What a load.

madawaskan said...

John Lynch

Damn meant to say anything less would be a corporate America sounbite.

Der Hahn-

Damn! I knew it was something like that but my memory was rusty.

You gotta take a look at that photo of "Puffball" Moyers in this context-it's completely ironic.

madawaskan said...

OK here is Bill Moyer's career in politics-

During the Kennedy Administration, Moyers was first appointed as associate director of public affairs for the newly created Peace Corps in 1961. He served as Deputy Director from 1962-63. When Johnson took office after the Kennedy assassination, Moyers became a special assistant to Johnson, serving from 1963–1967. He played a key role in organizing and supervising the 1964 Great Society legislative task forces and was a principal architect of Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign. When Walter Jenkins resigned from Johnson's staff in October 1964, Moyers became the President's informal chief of staff until 1966. From July 1965 to February 1967, he also served as White House Press Secretary.

Also he got his start after moving to Texas from Oklahoma at a television station owned by Lady Bird Johnson-.

Ann Althouse said...

chip ahoy said..."You've got a lot more patience for these two people than I do. What a load."

I don't have the patience to sit there and passively listen to it, but working off the transcript (and the recorded show) and writing, I felt engaged. I had a hypothesis -- that Moyers was Wright's PR agent -- that occurred to me when I saw the omission about avoiding "middleclassness," and I was analyzing the data from there on.

John: "That was the longest post I've ever seen here."

Yeah, sorry. I don't like to do that to the flow of the front page. Wish Blogger had a feature that would let me hide part of the post with a click to reveal it.

madawaskan ... LOL. Hilarious.

dave in boca said...

Ann, thanks for some good critical thinking, a rara avis on the graffito riffs that usually follow such analyses.

Bill Moyers has been an obsequious suck-up to any leftist "Progressive" meme-slinger on his show.

He played pattycake with Rev. Wrong and you correctly called him on it.

TV journalism nowadays is scarce, but Moyers is a PR flack with a PBS slot every week.

BTW, that neat photo of madawaskan has a big red proboscis indicating that the DUI Billy-boy was nailed with in Vermont a while back is probably well-earned!

The Drill SGT said...

Moyers has always been a Democratic party shill. However, since he started Frontline he has also been more clearly anti-american and anti-west IMHO.

B said...

Do you think Moyers asked hard questions? He started to six times, by my count, but I think it's quite clear that he was there to support Wright and give him a comfy setting and words of encouragement and sympathy.

It's Bill Moyers. That's what you get - a left to far-left perspective.

But anyone reading it still sees the same Jeremiah Wright that was cursing America, corporate America, white America on the YouTube videos. He verified that he is everything American's think he is .. and most importantly, everything the Republican Party wants America to think he is.

I would like to see Jeremiah Wright be interviewed by Sean Hannity of Bill O'Reilly - that would be fun! I would also like to see John McCain interviewed by Keith Olbermann!



Wish Blogger had a feature that would let me hide part of the post with a click to reveal it.

Wordpress does. I'm just sayin' . . .

rhhardin said...

Moyers is marking off the path from ``hard'' questions to soap opera safety. He has to start from the hard question to do this. So it's not a failure of journalism.

Journalism means saving profitable narratives, given who their money audience is.

The correct question is why doesn't the Black church take up a collection for poor whites.

Have they not noticed white churches taking their dignity from helping Blacks? For half a century.

It would work the other way, instead of sending the perpetual message : as you can see, we Blacks are moral basket cases.

At all costs that must not come up. It would solve everything. Whole books of media narratives would get tossed away and be worthless.

Mortimer Brezny said...

There is such a thing as too much coffee.

J.R. said...

I have watched Bill Moyers show sporadically. He is not confrontational with any controversial left figures. He likes to have a conversation. If he had John Hagee on his show he would have asked much more pointed questions.

It is revealing to let the Rev. Wright go on at length. He, like anyone, will reveal his true self when he thinks he has a sympathetic listener and is allowed to speak. The man is repulsive and has done more damage to Sen. Obama's campaign than everything else added together.

Obama lost the vote of observant Christians for the first time in Pennsylvania. In my opinion, that is because they do not feel that attending the Rev. Wright's church is observing Christianity.

The Drill SGT said...

One ray of sunshine is that the PBS lovefest for Wright won't impact much beyond the fact that the MSM has used a few snips in evening news this past week.

after all, think about the PBS demographic overall and the Moyers Frontline one in specific: How many viewers, Liberal Elites All, were not going to vote for Obama in the general?

Kirby Olson said...

Karl Rove and Hannity had some laughs about Moyers interviewing Wright, and Rove said that Moyers was a far-left shill, too. With that, they dismissed it, and went back to the other news of the day.

I'll have to read the entirety of your post later on. I like these longer posts. I like to see your mind in action and in depth. It's harder to see this with your short posts which I think are meant to salt the appetite. This post however was a full meal. Thanks for it.

I think Wright does have occasional sentient moments. A full tie in 140 degrees. He's right. To bring Christianity to Africa doesn't mean you have to wear Luther's winter coats that were necessary in Wittenberg.

The Marxist aspect of Black Liberation Theology that you touch upon at the end: this is very important. I don't think that Marxism is at all compatible with Christianity.

It basically legimitates Cain's slaughter of Abel. Marxism says this is ok. Christianity says it just plain isn't.

Marxist breaks humanity into halves and sets one half on the other. Race, gender, class, do this.

Christianity asks us to please NOT do this.

Christ asked us to try to see the good in those that we have traditionally demonized: the Samaritans, for instance, are recuperated inthe story of the Good Samaritan.

Marxism asks us to do exactly the opposite: it asks us to demonize, and to destroy those with which we happen to not agree.

"God DAMN America" is a Marxist wolf operating in the outfit of a Christian pastor.

It's right to out him on this.

Saul said...

I liked the interview (conversation). It gave Wright a chance to speak instead of having someone put words in his mouth.

I don't think Wright was saying that God was taking revenge on the U.S. in the form of 9/11. Rather, Wright was warning the U.S. not to take revenge on innocent people because of 9/11.

There is some ambiguity there, because of Wright's comments about the U.S. allegedly being a terrorist, and the "chickens come home to roost," comment, but I don't think the innocent babie comment directly related to the twin towers, but was about future actions (which have turned out to be true in the case of innocent civilian deaths in Iraq).

I think that Obama wimped out by not supporting Wright and instead jumping on the Wright is anti-American bandwagon. What's wrong about Wright saying what he wants to say? How is Wright's speech threatening to the U.S.? It isn't.

Who cares if Wright wants to blab on about his perceived issues with the U.S.? So what?

I think Wright will end up hurting Obama more, now that the media will once again spin complicated and probably contradictory thoughts and make Wright out to be evil incarnate, when he's just some religious guy mixing it up with some controversial themes that he has developed because he grew up black in america.

Are black people paranoid? Some are. Why? Because they know that if they were in a room of all white people, that certain whites would be spewing racial slurs, because guess what, there are plenty of white people that hate black people. Thus, blacks then become anti-American for acknowledging reality.

Trooper York said...

The short answer is they work for the same team. It's like complaining the Michael Kay or John Sterling don't ask the hard questions of Jeter or A-Rod. They are just shills for the team, that’s their job.

Trooper York said...

By the way, the What Not to Wear episode where you met Stacy and Clinton when they came to my wife's store aired last night. The subject was a lawyer named Catherine who had to spruce up her wardrobe before being admitted to the bar. As you know they surprise the subject and tell her that her friends nominated her for a complete makeover. So her law school classmates nominated her and the hosts of the show questioned them as to why she should get a new look. One of these law school classmates said: "She needs a new look, she looks like a house wife from Wisconsin." I almost pissed myself. It's on today at 2pm and will be replayed during the week. I am still laughing.

SGT Ted said...

Saul,

Quit excusing bigotry and hate.

Saul said...

I'm not excusing anything. To paraprhase Wedding Crashers, what's wrong with Wright throwing out his ideas? I don't see people going up in arms over the minister that claims Katrina was caused by gay people.

If people weren't so up tight about what people can and cannot say, maybe we wouldn't have so much over violence in this country.

Wright is responding to bigotry and hate. In doing so, maybe he is guilty of the same thing. So what?

Why are you threatened by it?

Did anyone take up arms because of what he said in church on a Sunday?

vbspurs said...

Ann, thank you thank you for devoting so much effort into this interview!

My post on it last night pales in comparison, but I did come to the same, fully independent conclusion about Moyers as you.

"Obviously Bill Moyers was not at pains to be a hard-hitting interviewer. Had it been a Bush operative or associate, the hardball questions would've come fast and furious.

But he played his usual midwifing role of asking amenable questions, the kind a person who truly wants to understand, rather than to judge would (the stark opposite of MSM when dealing with this administration)."


Much like Dick Cavett did in his day, or Charlie Rose does today, Bill Moyers has that "elbow in the soup" treatment (in Alice Roosevelt Longworth's inimitable phrase) for those guests he has a natural sympathy.

The effect is that of teacher-student, of total sympathy and more than a little obsequiousness.

Last evening's Moyers wasn't the same irate, bitter man who when accepting a Harvard Med School award for environmentalism (WTF?) flung insults at the administration -- suggesting they are not interested in the environment because they're religious Christian loonies who think the world will come to and end.

But when confronted with a real loony Christian who g-ddamns and thinks all kinds of conspiratorial and insulting things about his country, he's Mr. Whiffleball.

I expect puff questions from Larry King. That's his schtick.

But here was an UNMISSABLE one hour opportunity in his first appearance since the scandal broke to corner a man and ask him to explain himself.

And he might as well have been holding up cue cards for Rev. Wright to read.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ann Althouse said...

Trooper York said..."By the way, the What Not to Wear episode where you met Stacy and Clinton when they came to my wife's store aired last night."

Thanks. i do want to do a post about it and (finally) used the photos I took at the store. I also have something to say about why I would never agree to be the subject of that show. Seeing that poor woman getting tightly pinned into that pantsuit.... well, that's for another post.

Saul said..."I'm not excusing anything. To paraprhase Wedding Crashers, what's wrong with Wright throwing out his ideas?"

He can say it. We're just reacting to it.

"Did anyone take up arms because of what he said in church on a Sunday?"

You think as long as they don't come out and hurt us, there is nothing wrong? They were led to feel angry and alienated against their country and to identify with the anger of the terrorists. They came to Wright for leadership and this is what they got. Obama offers us leadership. Do we want it? It's kind of an important question!

rdkraus said...

Saul

You miss the point.

No one (I've heard) is saying Wright can't say what he wants. The issue here is what do his oft expressed views, and close relationship with Obama, say about the man who is running for President.

If Obama wants to embrace Wright and his views, he is free to do that, and go on NOT being President, because he'll never be elected if Americans believe he believes in what Wright believes (I can't believe I wrote that).

Instead, Wright is out on a "sanitation" tour designed to soften his immage.

ricpic said...

"...why doesn't the Black church take up a collection for poor whites?"


They can't bring themselves to tip a white waitress who's rendering an actual service to them and you expect them to help some vague white somewhere who's hurting out of the bigness of their black hearts?
Hah.

Fen said...

Wish Blogger had a feature that would let me hide part of the post with a click to reveal it.

Ann, check out BelmontClub. It looks like blogger to me [?], with a "read more" function.

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/

vbspurs said...

Ann, thanks for the quote!

I was completely energised IMMEDIATELY after watching the interview, typing my lengthy post-comments in less than 15 minutes.

Something about this lacklustre interview clearly resonated with all of us.

In my post, I give the video link on PBS. You can watch the full interview in two parts, if you guys missed it. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

somefeller said...

I'm probably more politically sympathetic to Bill Moyers than most people who post comments here, and while I'm not supporting him in the primary, I will vote for Obama in the fall if he is the Democratic nominee. That having been said, here's my position regarding Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Jeremiah Wright is a buffoon. He's the type of blabbering, blustering gasbag (I like that subtle dig, Ann - "talking like an intellectual") who would be laughed out of any group of serious people, but for the fact that he throws out the race and religion cards to shut down argument and provide himself some credibility. Actually, I think it is the latter card that he uses much more effectively than the former, and he is just the sort of person that motivates a guy like Christopher Hitchens to write an anti-religious screed, and motivates a guy like me to read and agree with large parts of that screed, perhaps against my better instincts.

What a gift Jeremiah Wright is to the GOP. And the New Atheists, for that matter. Thanks for nothing, Jeremiah.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saul said...

The truth is that Obama most likely joined the church for political reasons and also to get a sense for what it is like to be a black person, since he grew up inn white culture. As an lefty intellectual, Obama probably never thought twice about what Wright was saying, because it was probably nothing worse than anything Obama's mom had said to him since day one.

I think Obama could have been truthful about all this, and still remained electable. I think Obama is worse off by denying the reality that put him in that church for 20 years.

I do think that Wright gets somewhat of a pass for having been born and raised in a very racist country, that while it is has improved, still remains unable to confront many of its racial issues.

So white people blasting Wright just seems to be disingenuous, and holier than thou b.s.

In a purely white environment, I hear much more bigoted statements coming from white people against black people than anything Wright ever said.

I don't pretend to understand black culture. However, I've probably spent more time than most white people emdedded in black culture, and it is much more complicated than it appears on its face.

It will remain misunderstood, and black people will continue to get the short end of the stick until people start getting honest about what is going on. Are black people responsible for their fate? Certainly, they are to blame for many of their ills. But they are not going to solve the problems in the black community, without help from the white community.

Have you ever been to an inner city black school? In D.C., there have been times when teachers literally just let the t.v. run and not teach students, because the kids were uncontrollable.

It is no coincidence that hundreds of thousands of black people are incarcerated.

The shortsightedness will cost all of us more in money and in lives.

I don't think the government is the solution. I lived through the sixties. I think the government probably caused many of the problems in the black community by creating the welfare state.

But focusing all this attention on one person is a complete waste of time, and does not serve any one's best interest.

If Obama loses the election because of Wright, that will simply cause further division and further alienation.

rcocean said...

Great post. Sadly, I didn't have the patience to either read the transcript or watch.

"Puffball" Moyers - LoL.

PatCA said...

It was a complete puffball interview. Even Wright looked shamefaced at the softness of it all. I also agree that his longer clip was astounding: the more we see, the worse it gets. The hate visible there almost reached jihad level.

As for our myths he is supposedly destroying, what about the myth of the pure African? Didn't Africans support the slave trade, then and now? Who abolished slavery, the Third World or the West?

"I don't think Wright was saying that God was taking revenge on the U.S. in the form of 9/11. Rather, Wright was warning the U.S. not to take revenge on innocent people because of 9/11."

That was not clear at all. I think Wright meant that the US is fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq out of mere revenge, and Moyers kept trying to steer it back to church members who wanted revenge. Wright also brought up "clinging" to bad stuff, like Americans always do, so it's no surprise Obama uses the same word.

The man is a dangerous demagogue and has done more harm than good to his church, no matter how many meals to the poor he has served. He is a devastating indicator of Obama's beliefs and character. Watch and choose your way, America.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crimso said...

"So white people blasting Wright just seems to be disingenuous, and holier than thou b.s."

Sorry, pal, but I find Wright to be a disgusting blowhard. And guess what? I've never oppressed him, or anybody else. Your sentiments are similar to those who think that you can't possibly vote against Obama without being a racist. I reject your indictment of me and who I am. Flatly.

Saul said...

I think people are reading way too much into this to say that Wright was claiming at God was behind 9/11.

Wright was talking about revenge in the future, and not to take out revenge because of 9/11.

I don't think he was implying that God was behind the chickens coming home to roost.

Rather, I think Wright was saying that we shouldn't be shocked that the U.S. was attacked, because the U.S.'s own history was imperfect.

Why doesn't anyone give Wright credit for his valid Clinton bashing. Wright profoundly said that Clinton fucked the black people like he fucked Monica?

He hit the nail right on the head.

Also, it isn't a stretch to say that Monica's blow job, however good it may have been, may have been the reason that the U.S. didn't get Osama when it could have, and therefore ultimately cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars, not to mention all the innocent lives.

So Monica's blow job was much more costly than any of Spitzer's three diamond whores.

Crimso said...

"Rather, I think Wright was saying that we shouldn't be shocked that the U.S. was attacked, because the U.S.'s own history was imperfect."

Would it be any less palatable to say that we shouldn't be shocked that Africans were enslaved? After all, their own history was imperfect.

George said...

What about believing that FDR knew about Pearl Harbor?

"The government lied about Pearl Harbor. They knew the Japanese were going to attack. Government's lied."

If only McCain's grandfather, the four-star commander of a Pacific carrier task force, were alive to comment on that.

He died of a heart attack a few days after the war ended.

I blame FDR.

Saul said...

I haven't defended Obama. I also never suggested that to not vote for Obama is racist. Obama is a light weight. It is next to impossible to believe that he can do anything to improve the current situation, or let alone get national health care when we can't even fund social security and we have a ten trillion dollar debt.

I do think that the right is paying attention to Wright for political reasons, and ignoring equally divisive people, such as the anti-gay pastor who supports McCain.

I think not fixing the levees knowing that they could not sustain a level five hurricane was the proximate cause of Katrina. Not a gay parade. But maybe that's just me.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mtrobertsattorney said...

Has Wright ever once condemned the pathologies of the black underclass as self-inflicted wounds? Or is white racist America to blame for black-on-black crime, the gang culture and the contempt for education?

LutherM said...

There is a fine Ferlinghetti poem, titled "I AM WAITING" http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/i-am-waiting/

I am personally waiting for Bill Moyers;
(1) to acknowledge his part in helping Lyndon Baines Johnson cause the deaths of over 50,000 American troops in Viet Nam;
(2) to admit that he helped the LBJ administration consistently lie about the war;
(3) that he lacked the courage of Clark Clifford in insisting that Johnson hear the truth about the war situation.

Moyers is a lobbyist, a propagandist, a shill.
I am not waiting for Moyers to become a journalist.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Has Wright ever once condemned the pathologies of the black underclass as self-inflicted wounds?

I believe he has, actually. Whatever other wretched nonsense black radical preachers believe, they tend to be pretty clear-eyed on that particular issue.

somefeller said...

Actually, let me say a few words in favor of Bill Moyers. It's distinctly possible that Moyers wanted to ask harder questions (better hard questions from a friendly interviewer than an unfriendly one), but either before or during the interview he got the impression that doing so would get a negative backlash from Wright and would put Wright in a worse position because Wright wouldn't handle it well on-camera.

Let me give an example. There are times in which lawyers have gotten a negative response or even fired by arrogant, blowhard clients who get offended when their lawyer asks them challenging questions during witness preparation, in order to get the client toughened up and prepared for the witness stand or a deposition. Wright seems like that kind of client.

Moyers may have seen that if he pushed Wright too hard, Wright wouldn't see it as a chance to give his position on tough issues in front of a friendly audience, and instead might turn on Moyers and add him to the list of people that are out to get him. Granted, concern about that sort of response doesn't completely get Moyers off the hook, but I can easily see that course of events coming around, given the type of person that Wright is.

Chip Ahoy said...

Althouse, one possibility blogger offers is another blog, say Althouse2, just for long posts, then refer to that from here. Just an idea.

Our Paul said...

Allow me the pleasure of deconstructing Ms. Althouse post.

Given the choice of understanding Rev Wright, or understanding his religious message, she dove into the transcript which was made available before the actual broadcast show. Her knives, judging by her fans (few if any apparently watched the interview) were well sharpened…

What a power house our Althouse is – the interview of Rev. Wright ended at 11:00 PM, the time of her posting was 5:44 AM, a clear “All Nighter” to write her titanic rip of the good Reverand. Bed time, of course not to be. Our Lady of the Poison Quill found a 7:00 AM post by Protein Wisdom and quickly added a link to her post.

And guess what, by 9:31 AM, she is at it again. This time it is that dreadful New York Times editorial about a planned GOP add in South Carolina. Racism she asks, racism she pleads, it is not us, its them… A veritable dynamo is our Althouse, she captained the good ship “Swiftboater” from 11:00 PM to 9:31 AM, fearlessly taking on Bill Moyer, Rev. Wright, the New York Times, and gasp, John McCain…

I think me lady is suffering from sleep deprivation. Stop torturing yourself Ann, get some sleep.

Palladian said...

"I think me lady is suffering from sleep deprivation. Stop torturing yourself Ann, get some sleep."

There's nothing so embarrassing as a poor writer trying to be clever. Methinks.

vbspurs said...

I think me lady is suffering from sleep deprivation. Stop torturing yourself Ann, get some sleep.

Allow me to deconstruct Our Paul's post about Althouse.

He criticises her ability to search out a transcript of a show which had already aired by the time she posted.

This suggests she posted without having seen the interview, or perhaps invented it out of thin air.

He also takes her to task about being a johnny on the spot and posting a long piece on it, a few hours afterwards, citing other similar blogposts elsewhere. This is clearly nothing but Tag-Teaming.

Not only does he use the sarcastic moniker Our Lady of the Poison Quill for her, he berates her for her all-nighter (a male-misogynist meme that women are either Whores or Madonnas, but if clever, both).

For good measure in case you didn't get the backhanded insult, he calls her a dynamo (editorial note: which always puts me to mind a dishevelled housewife vacuuming frantically, for some reason).

In closing, he suggests she take better care of herself by keeping to a more regular sleeping schedule. Clearly the one she has now makes her arrive at all the wrong conclusions.

How nice is must be to have a reader who so obviously cares about your well-being.

Cheers,
Victoria

Bissage said...

Maybe you guys are being a little too hard on “Our Paul.”

That 11:33 is actually pretty funny if you read it using a pompous Tobias F√ľnke voice.

XWL said...

This is one data point amongst many to make this argument.

But shouldn't Bill Moyers Journal, Public Affairs Television, WNET, and PBS in general be investigated by the Federal Election Commission for making what amounts to an undisclosed in kind campaign contribution of air time to the Obama campaign to run an hour long infomercial explaining away their biggest tactical disadvantage in the primaries and general election?

Seems like McCain-Feingold was passed to specifically stop this sort of chicanery.

I have no problem with this show running, but I don't think it should be running unpaid for by the Obama campaign, and running on mostly stations that receive a chunk of their funding directly from taxpayers.

Few seem outraged that NPR, PBS, and most of the other media at the public trough not only tend towards one side of the political spectrum, but all but openly advocate for candidates they favor.

Joan said...

It is possible in Blogger to show only part of a post on the main page but it takes a bit of fussing.

Here's what you do:

1) Compose the full post as usual. Determine where you would like the post to break. At that point, insert a link something like this, replacing the parens with angle brackets:
Click (a href="permalink")here(/a) to read the full post with comments.

2) Immediately after the link, include this HTML command, again replacing parens with angle brackets: (span class="fullpost")

3) At the end of the post, add the HTML command, again replacing parens with angle brackets: (/span)

4) Publish the post. At this point, the "Click here" link won't work, because you don't have the permalink yet.

5) View your blog and copy the post's permalink into your clipboard. (On a PC, right click on the permalink and click on "copy link location"; I don't know how to do that on a Mac.)

6. Edit your post, and replace the word "permalink" in the "Click here" line with the actual permalink.

7. Republish your post, and you should be right as rain.

The only slight glitch in this system is that the "Click here to read full post with comments" line does also show up in the full post, but this is trivial.

Since this post is already published, you could easily edit it to make it expandable.

Good luck!

tjl said...

XWL has "no problem with this show running, but I don't think it should be running unpaid for by the Obama campaign"

Don't get too worked up about it. The number of viewers who might be swayed by the show is limited to the number who enjoy, or at least tolerate, an hour of Moyers. Moyers' self-righteous smugness guarantees that his audience will be small and already in total ideological agreement. His practical impact as a propagandist for the Obama campaign is therefore slight.

Incidentally, doesn't Moyers' show still exist because some liberal media foundation made it a precondition for a massive grant to PBS?

madawaskan said...

Ann Althosue-

Ha! Glad someone appreciated it.

Trooper York-

I hate to go all California girlie-but OMG! I love that show-especially when I am on the treadmill-gotta find it-

Hey btw what's the matter you?

Ain't you a Ranger's fan-they almost kicked the Pens booties last night-phew!

AlphaLiberal said...

Well, I tried to read through this very long rant from Althouse but couldn't bear it. Ann pretends to offer an objective review but comes with an axe to grind.

Some samples:
What should follow is a statement about the degree of allegiance people owe to their country, but Wright jumps to an invocation of free speech....

What an ugly authoritarian comment. He should respond to the attacks on him like a whipped dog seeking forgiveness and pledging loyalty. When have you demanded same of right wing preachers who say hurricanes and terrorists have exacted God's revenge for various "sins," Ann? I've never seen it.


And on Martin, Althouse says:
King entered the political fray, and people debated politics. Some people agreed with him and some didn't, but he was a powerful voice in important political debates. He wasn't above the debate, but part of it, and people argued with him. What is wrong with that?

You've distorted the historical record is what. The part Wright is referring to is not people debating the issues with King. It's the personal attacks, wiretaps and surveillance on King by the FBI, rumor-spreading against King's personal life, red-baiting in place of honest debate.

I have family to tend to but will wrap it up saying a little humility from white people is in order when trying to understand the experience of blacks. Althouse just legitimizes the racist attacks and demands our political debate be organized around Rovian lines.

Trooper York said...

Hey madawaskan it's a great show. And the two hosts are really cool people. Maybe we can propose you for the show. You get $5,000 to spend which ain't too shabby. Just make sure you come to my store but only if you are over a size 10.

AlphaLiberal said...

For those who prefer to form their views without the Althouse distortions and demand for gotchya journalism, here is a direct link to the interview and web site.

And here's Bill's blog where he speaks to some of the controversies. Definitely more interesting reading than Althouse.

PatCA said...

Saul,
What the heck is so bad about "the current situation"? Do you expect heaven on earth at some point soon?

I wish I had a bigger house. I wish I knew for sure I would have a comfortable retirement. God D*** America!

AlphaLiberal said...

Perhaps Moyers doesn't accept the distortion of the "rejection of middleclassness" so embraced by Althouse:

From the Chicago Tribune:
Harris-Lacewell, the Princeton professor, said the "disavowal of the pursuit of middleclassness" is simply an argument against materialism and the pursuit of the American standard of wealth. Many white Christian churches also preach against materialism.

The Pope also preaches against materialism. Will Ann Althouse denounce the Pope next and call him a Marxist?

Your comments here, Ann, the stubborn bias you bring to your review ("I had a hypothesis -- that Moyers was Wright's PR agent"), your inability to do the easiest fact-checking on right wing distortions is a real disservice.

Moyers' job is not to repeat Republican attacks. He's no Stephanopoulus, to his great credit. We've had enough of the shallow gotchya journalism you demand.

Maguro said...

XWL,
Don't fear, a nationally-televised interview with Rev Wright is a net minus for the Obama campaign even with a sympathetic enabler like Bill Moyers as interviewer. Wright exposes himself - and Obama - every time he opens his mouth.

I'm surprised Obama hasn't told his mentor to shut up, already.

AlphaLiberal said...

Just reviewing my comments, I want to emphasize that Ann Althouse is clearly speaking in ignorance on the atacks on MLK. She is legitimizing those attacks in the process.

Before dismissing accurate depictions of those attacks, it would behoove Althouse to learn what she's talking about before talking.

And, try to remember, he was killed for his words and deeds. That's kind of different from arguing over issues.

Yeesh.

Cedarford said...

The puffball piece drips with irony.

Bill Moyers was LBJ's defacto chief of staff from 1964-66 and in the room when LBJ and RFK (properly) made the call to wiretap MLK and certain other civil rights leaders out of concen about communist, radical Jewish influence on the civil rights movement (Stanley Levinson, NYC lawyers). And concern that Soviet funds were going through the NYC and Chicago branches of the CP-USA to fuel black civil unrest, riots, and opposition to the Vietnam War.

(Moyers also served as Press Secretary from 65-67 and strongly defended Vietnam while knowing his boss had concluded in 1964 that it was unwinnable and was only to be fought to show the likes of Stanley Levinson, the NYC ACLU, and the Soviets we had the Will to fight. But that is another Moyers storyline....)

After 1969, of course, the facile Moyers made the transition to ernest liberal and with political patronage and taxpayer funds, spent the next 40 years turning PBS into an auxillary propaganda arm of liberal Democrats. While puffing up the people he supported wiretapping into America's only "unflawed Demi-Gods" - and taking the PBS line that any criticism of civil rights leaders was racist.

It has been a long, wonderful lucrative free ride for Bill Moyers.

Keep in mind that over the last 20 years, Bill Moyers special brand of pompous, sanctimonious, liberal activist "journalism" has come under increased scrutiny for being blatantly biased. And for his many multimillion dollar business "deals" with the taxpayer-funded PBS. For PBS and the Democrat Party sharing donor lists.

Frankly, Moyers is not that important anymore, and history and study of journalism will not look on Moyers and his Media Empire and agenga that kindly.

His softball treatment of Rev Wright will be somewhat corrected by other journalists that will not accept Moyers pandering and refusal to ask the revealing questions as "The Law From The Great Man of Journalism".
Similar to how worshipful liberal media that all but declared Obama their Magic Negro, their Black Messiah posed to lead America to the land of milk and honey all stood exposed for not vetting the guy when comics began ridiculing their media bias. "May we get you a pillow, Mr. Obama?" "Is your pillow for this debate comfortable enough?"

Revenant said...

I see Alpha has received a fresh set of talking points from the leftie blogosphere.

Kirby Olson said...

I watched the video that Theo Boehm linked to. It's long but very interesting and it made me cry. It was so brilliant, and so thorough. It's just wonderful to know that there are young people like this in our country:

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=7618598

It takes a while to watch it, but it's really worthwhile, unlike the puffball interviews Space-Case that is the subject of this thread.

God bless, Zo!

The guy has clearly done some hard thinking, and arrived at unusually brilliant perspectives. I'm going to link to it at my blog.

Ann Althouse said...

Our Paul said..."What a power house our Althouse is – the interview of Rev. Wright ended at 11:00 PM, the time of her posting was 5:44 AM, a clear “All Nighter” to write her titanic rip of the good Reverand. Bed time, of course not to be."

There are 2 things you don't realize: 1. The post time is set at the time when I begin writing the post, not when it was actually posted, which was shortly before I put up the next post. That means I spent 3 hours writing it. 2. The blog is set to Central Time, but I'm in NYC right now, so in fact I started writing just before 7 a.m. (after sleeping as long as I could). I began by starting to watch the TiVo'd program from last night, and found a transcript to help me do the quotes. I didn't read anyone else's opinion of the show, but worked completely from my own response to the original material.

"And guess what, by 9:31 AM, she is at it again."

Since you didn't understand the timing, you don't realize that this is right after I did my first post and the red flower post. I decided to read some news stories before quitting my morning blogging and I chose that one to write about. It's not such an amazing process.

igbalonigbanlo said...

So ricpic, we don't (all 12 million of us) tip white waitresses, huh? All those restaurants and places I've been and made sure i tipped above the normal % must all have had black waitresses...

Cedarford said...

Alpha Liberal - Just reviewing my comments, I want to emphasize that Ann Althouse is clearly speaking in ignorance on the atacks on MLK. She is legitimizing those attacks in the process.

Well, speaking for myself, Alpha, why would arguments disputing MLK's views on racial apportionment of city jobs, Vietnam, Castro and the trade embargo, his marxist critique of capitalism as worsening the plight of blacks when socialist solutions would redistribute "equality and happiness for the Negro"? Algeria, the arms race, etc.? All that criticism be "illegitimate"? Because Saint Martin himself was attacked for views out of the mainstream? Or by a sizable minority that disagreed with the Holy Reverendon matters history generally thinks he was right on? In a democracy, what debate and argument is "illegitimate" and properly shut down by Lefties beholden to Marcuse and "Repressive Tolerance" confrontational stifling of "incorrect thoughts"? Or the stuff religious Fundies wish to quash from debate?

What are you proposing? That certain figures in American history and in our present be elevated to be Above Criticism?
Who would inhabit your immunized Pantheon, historically? Just Saint Martin? Others?
And how would you say what present attacks on present American figures or ideas are "illegitimate" and which policies are things no one has a "right" to attack?
Perhaps you want the Jonathan Alterman "Gatekeeper" function imposed on not just the Internet, but speech codes on all public discourse?

IMO, King said a lot of idiotic things and he also had many ideas and beliefs he was right on. But whatever the case, his critics had the right to attack his views and make their case. That is how our system works. Nor in hindsight, even if motivated by emotions, biases, inconvenient truths, the culture and values of the time - may such people and beliefs be described in hindsight as "legitimate" or "illegitimate" expressions of thought in the public discourse.

Ann Althouse said...

Joan, thanks! I'm going to try it.

Fen said...

Alpha: a little humility from white people is in order when trying to understand the experience of blacks

Why? Are blacks too frickin fragile to be treated like every other race in America?

Reverse it. Blacks are the most racist demographic in America. When are they going to start trying to understand the experience of everyone else?

Ann Althouse said...

Or actually.... not sure I can tamper with this post at this point. Better leave it. I'll try that approach next time I have a very long one.

sydney said...

Cedarford said,

"His softball treatment of Rev Wright will be somewhat corrected by other journalists ..."

Oh, if only that were true. The front page of our local paper had two Wright-inspired stories, and neither were what you would call critical.

Here's the main one- Church feels heat of spotlight:

Wright is the retired pastor of the church where Obama is a member, Trinity UCC in Chicago, the denomination's largest church with more than 8,000 members.

His fiery words — including his revision of the classic Irving Berlin lyric: ''Not 'God Bless America!' 'God damn America!' '' for killing innocent people is steeped in black liberation theology.

The religious philosophy, rooted in the black power movement, often involves preaching that sounds angry but does not advocate violence.

Instead, it is channeled into constructive action aimed at eradicating racism. Because the philosophy is widely unknown to white Americans, the effort to put Wright's comments into context is complicated, according to Eddie Glaude Jr., a professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University.


The article also mentions that Bill Moyers is a member of the United Church of Christ. Another reason his interview was a puff piece.

The second article was from the Associated Press, and is pretty much an a rehash of the Moyers puffery.

What are the chances that the mainstream media will actually address the content of black liberation theology?

Jeremiah Wright's interpretation of Psalm 137 encapsulates his theology in a nutshell.

"Blessed are they who dash your baby's brains against a rock."

All of the focus on the bitter last phrase.

Pope Benedict has a more Christian take:

God, who is the ultimate judge of history, will also know how to understand and accept, in accordance with his justice, the cry of victims, over and above the tones of bitterness that sometimes colours them.

blake said...

I don't see people going up in arms over the minister that claims Katrina was caused by gay people.

You don't? I do/have.

I don't see McCain claiming anyone who says stuff like that as a mentor, or sitting in his church for 20 years.

(Still not votin' for the dude, though.)

mtrobertsattorney said...

Is Alpha really packing up his family and moving to Chicago's inner city so that he can personally demonstrate his "white humility" to the Black Disciples?

Fen said...

Because the philosophy [black liberation theology] is widely unknown to white Americans, the effort to put Wright's comments into context is complicated,

Not really. Simply compare it to the hatred coming out of Saudi Madrassas. Same animal.

Joan said...

Shoot! I forgot you also have to edit your Blogger template so it knows what to do with the "span" commands.

Sorry about that -- here is the Blogger advice I found on how to do this with new Blogger templates. And here is the post that tells you how to have a "Read more!" tag only in the posts you choose, using "Classic" Blogger.

It's really something to tackle only when you're in the mood to fiddle with your template.

Revenant said...

a little humility from white people is in order when trying to understand the experience of blacks

Nah.

See, I don't have to "understand the experience of blacks". Quite honestly I don't give a rat's ass about it. They're 12 percent of the population; they have to learn to fit in with the other 88%, not vice-versa.

AST said...

I salute you for having the fortitude to sit through Moyer's sanctimony. I've never been able to do so myself. He's this nation's most shameful former governmental official still operating, except for Jimmy Carter who is worse only because he won't stay home.

Revenant said...

He's this nation's most shameful former governmental official still operating

Nah, not until Ramsey Clark finally drops dead. :)

vbspurs said...

See, I don't have to "understand the experience of blacks". Quite honestly I don't give a rat's ass about it. They're 12 percent of the population; they have to learn to fit in with the on her 88%, not vice-versa.

Don't count me in amongst those who don't wish to "understand the experience of blacks".

I have innumerable reading material on African history, I have taken African-American history classes despite already possessing a degree from an UK university (in History), and I have a deep fascination with the EARLY Civil Rights movement, especially Booker T. Washington and WEB DuBois.

But what I want is DIALOGUE, not monologue towards a group which is supposed to stay quiet because they're the perpetual bad guys.

This is what Reverend Wright and people like him ask for, or what it leads to, when they call on people to "discuss" race.

Cheers,
Victoria

AST said...

I went to Indistinct Union and then listened to Wright's sermon again. I find Wright claim that he was trying to teach his congregation that God does not approve of vengeful wishes [The last verse says that Israel will bless those who will do to Babylon as it did to Jerusalem when the Jews were carried into captivity.] to be as disingenuous as it could possibly be. He was screaming out for God to damn America for its sins against the African brought here as slaves and their descendants. Now he claims he was just doing so to dramatize the attitude that God doesn't want us to have.

If that were his meaning, he should have chosen Jeremiah (no relation) 51:36 which contains the promise, "Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee [against Babylon]." Or Deuteronomy 32:35 "To me belongeth vengeance and recompense."

Wright's theology is to put Africans and African Americans in the place of Israel, but Israel had living prophets who spoke for God. He has a theological degree.

former law student said...

What I pick up from some commenters on this thread is that African-Americans should just GET OVER IT and sing God Bless America.

But I don't know why they would. They were brought here in chains, in death ships. Then they were worked to death and bred like animals. Eventually they were freed, but forced to live, eat, ride, and learn in segregation. This ended legally in 1964 but in some places whites are still practicing it.

All of the slavers, segregators, and racists were Christians. When the Southern Baptists declared that slavery was divinely ordained, the Northerners kicked them out. How the hell can a black man become Christian, considering what Christians did to black men? Surely color-blind Islam makes more sense to belong to. But Rev. Mr. Cone found a way in black liberation theology.

Liberation theology focuses on what god wants us to do for the least of our brethren. Black theology takes the imprint of the white slavemaster away from Christianity and makes it available to blacks.

PatCA said...

Cjsmith's comment confirms what I thought about the reference: Wright is characterizing the War on Terror as simple vengeance; Moyers tried to steer it back to Wright's congregation and their cries for vengeance. It's such a common meme on the left that the WOT is vengeance that I believe Wright believes it too.

former law student, you make lots of blanket claims about what "they" think and do or wha "all" the slavers were. How do you know?

Revenant said...

But I don't know why they would.

Because it is in their best interests to do so. If they're waiting for the other 88% of Americans to magically make everything better they're going to be waiting forever. Especially since we're already at the point where the majority of Americans weren't even ALIVE yet when the government banned racial discrimination.

All of the slavers, segregators, and racists were Christians.

Actually, no, most of the slavers were black or Arab, and primarily animist or Muslim. Most of the people who ran the New World end of the operation were Christian, though. But obviously here in America most of the slavers, segregators, and racists -- and abolitionists, Civil Rights workers, and opponents of racism -- were Christian, because most of the people were Christian.

How the hell can a black man become Christian, considering what Christians did to black men? Surely color-blind Islam makes more sense to belong to.

If you overlook the fact that Islam began enslaving black people centuries before Christianity did and continued to do so until the present day? I guess. So maybe if we're talking about a really *dumb* black guy, that argument would make sense...

Dogwood said...

Former Law Student,

They can live in the past, or they can live in the future. It is their choice.

However, if they fail to take full advantage of the opportunities available to them in the 21st century, then they have no one to blame but themselves.

No one alive today was ever a slave. So yes, they need to get over that one. Our nation paid for its original sin with the deaths of 600,000 plus people. It is history. Move along.

And yes, there are still individuals of all races and ethnicities who are racists and will do and say racist things. There is no excuse for such behavior. However, human nature being what it is, those types of people will never be eradicated from the face of the Earth.

So, what to do? Blacks can go on thinking of themselves as perpetual victims, or they can recognize an asshole when they see one and choose not to let that individual's ignorance and prejudice negatively impact their attitude and determination to succeed in what ever they choose to do.

Life isn't fair. It isn't easy. And it never will be. So yeah, in a sense, get over it.

Government sanctioned and enforced racism is a thing of the past. As for individuals, the vast majority simply don't care if you are black, purple, or plaid.

As for the rest, avoid them whenever possible, ignore them when you have to, sue them when you must.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

what, specifically, should the Government and people of the United States do to expiate the Sin of slavery?

Fight the Civil War. Of course, we already did that.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

They were brought here in chains, in death ships.

What percentage of hypenated-Americans are actually descendants of slaves?

vbspurs said...

Surely color-blind Islam makes more sense to belong to.

You are very very wrong.

Saudi Arabia and the Islamic world is severely racist against darker coloured peoples than themselves.

Just ask black Africans when they go to Mecca for the Haj how they are treated.

Or read this, from a Sudanese Guardian writer.

"Our next move was to Saudi Arabia, where the Arab ethnicity with which I identified so strongly was suddenly cast into doubt: now it was my turn to be the "slave". My belief that I was an Arab, racially superior to non-Arab Africans, became laughable in the heartland of Arabia - a place where "Arabness" was not only determined by skin colour but by whether you could uninterruptedly trace your lineage back to the founding father of your clan. In fact, ancestry is so important in Saudi Arabia that courts have the power to annul a marriage if gaps are later discovered in a person's lineage, opening up the possibility of blood line pollution."

Don't even reply that there is racism everywhere.

Islam sanctions slavery to this day, and there are slaves in Saudi Arabia IN THE YEAR 2008.

There is only one place which turns a blind eye in the whole of the West, to slavery.

And that would be Haiti, who turn a blind-eye to the poor little restavecs.

Why there isn't a cry-and-hue from all peoples about this, is a mystery to me.

Rev. Wright mentioned that 20 years ago, he was used to receiving death threats because he was heavily against Apartheid and put up a big sign in front of his church, condemning it.

Where's the condemnation for Islamic slaves and Haitian restavecs? They're black too.

Cheers,
Victoria

Methadras said...

Reverend Wright is turning out to be the gift that keeps on giving. On that note, I have to say that Moyers is an incredulous and devious bastard in this interview. Getting the only exclusive while keeping the shine on democrats and leftists in both directions. Get a taste of black theology (what a joke) and try to look like a real journalist at the same time. To bad the entire piece comes off fluffier than brand new Egyptian cotton.

Our Paul said...

In Honor of Colombo, if you get a chance, TiVo any and all episodes.

“Ah”, said the man in the rumpled dirt stained raincoat, “you have returned with your alibi?” Getting up from his squatting position, he waved at the body by his feet, disfigured by multiple wounds.

“The good Reverend Wright was badly mutilated over several weeks before the final blow, the journalist that interviewed him is in the hospital, a clear victim of multiple verbal stab wounds. Nice neighborhood you live in Miss, Miss… His gravely voice trailed off to be replaced by a slightly arched eyebrow.

“Professor Althouse to you, Lieutenant!” the lady in red snapped back. In her hand a bouquet of freshly cut red tulips.

“Let me put those is some water before they wilt” the crafty detective said. Taking the offered flowers, he placed them in vase. Before he turned, he quickly read the tell tale note: to expunge any political nastiness that may linger from the previous post or any other post put up today. Looked to him like a women’s handwriting. He was going to have to get a sample from her. Shaking his head, he turned to her and said let’s hear it:

In a slow and contemptuous voice, she answered back: “There are 2 things you don't realize: 1. The post time is set at the time when I begin writing the post, not when it was actually posted, which was shortly before I put up the next post. That means I spent 3 hours writing it. 2. The blog is set to Central Time, but I'm in NYC right now, so in fact I started writing just before 7 a.m. (after sleeping as long as I could). I began by starting to watch the TiVo'd program from last night, and found a transcript to help me do the quotes. I didn't read anyone else's opinion of the show, but worked completely from my own response to the original material.

“I would assume you carefully watched the program, certainly an experienced lawyer would search for body language clews, nuances in spoken speech?.. There must have been some exculpatory material.”

“But of course…”

A smirk on his face, the detective who more than once had been accused of sexism and misogyny, ironically asked:

“Multi-tasking Professor Althouse? A well-known feminine trait, but carefully watching the interview, reading the transcript, and thinking and typing at the same time? That devastating brief, so carefully put together, eviscerating both Bill Moyer as a liberal conspirator, and Rev. Wright as un-Christian and un-patriotic?.. All done in three hours, one of which was spent watching the interview?”

The lady in red haughtily replied: “Since you didn't understand the timing, you don't realize that this is right after I did my first post and the red flower post. I decided to read some news stories before quitting my morning blogging and I chose that one to write about. It's not such an amazing process.”

A bit disgusted, the man in the rumpled rain coat looked at her and said: “And the transcript, just happened to be stuffed in your brief case when you left Chicago?.. Give us the name of the New York hotel, I am sure your ardent fans will jump in to correct me, but TiVo’s in Hotel rooms??? “

Ann, as an Academic you must realize that the hatchet job you did on Reverand Wright and Bill Moyer diminishes neither of these individuals, it only diminishes you. You had a chance to elevate the conversation, you had a chance to be a patriot, you could of brought us together, you chose to mock and slander.

In your post, there is no saving grace. You could have mentioned Pastor Wright’s service in the Armed Forces, but you did not. You could have, if only out of a sense of decency, mentioned that powerful moment when he compared the white sea captain, praying to his God, and the black shackled slaves, praying to their God. It just might have helped the conversation, it just might have ameliorated the disgusting attacks on “Black Liberation Theology”.

As penance for my badly written detective narrative, a burnt offering, of a different black man, talking about the black experience, and slave ships.

Our Paul said...

Try again, the slave ship episode is here.

2maggie2 said...

You really are misinterpreting what Wright is saying about Psalm 137. Earlier in the sermon (IIRC) he makes it clear that he's heart-broken about the death and destruction of 9/11. He's trying to respond. This section is about the fear that our righteous anger about it will morph into the unrighteous desire to take vengence on innocents. Implicit in that point is that the terrorists have likewise made a step from whatever righteous anger they may have had to the unrighteous step of killing innocents.

Wright is an interesting thinker. A hostile interrogation of him is only going to throw back your own preconceptions -- rather than helping you to arrive at understanding him or us to arrive at a chance of reasonably assessing the strengths and weaknesses of his thought. Take that approach to *any* thinker and you can successfully "expose" him. But you are really only exposing your own refusal to thoughtfully engage him.

Greg said...

Wow, people sure seem worked up about some guy saying "God Damn America."
So, if people are worked up about that, then they're going to be REALLY worked up about this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X77R_prkCkg

Yup, that's right. It's an entire SONG, with lyrics like:
"Why should God bless America?
She's forgotten he exists.
And has turned her back on everything
That made her what she is."
Wow. That's America-hating at its finest.
And...oh, look. It was sung at a major Republican debate in September '07.
And John McCain was there.
Did he condemn this?
No he did not.
All together now--every single blog commenter--and yes, you too Ann--are you going to condemn this outrageous attack on America by the Republicans? I'd recommend it. Otherwise you're just going to look like total hypocrites with no credibility.
We're waiting...

Joan said...

Our Paul, how many hours did you work on your last reply?

Ann is living in Brooklyn these days, she's a visiting professor in NYC this (academic) year. She can set her own TiVO.

You want to play detective? You'd best pay better attention to detail and rely less on your assumptions of what must be true.

Revenant said...

You could have mentioned Pastor Wright’s service in the Armed Forces, but you did not.

Who cares if Wright served in the Armed Forces? It is perfectly possible to serve in the Armed Forces and still be an America-hating racist nutbag. Timothy McVeigh is an excellent case in point.

Revenant said...

are you going to condemn this outrageous attack on America by the Republicans?

And your reason for believing that a group of black gospel singers are Republicans is...?

AlphaLiberal said...

Revenant shares some delusions:
I see Alpha has received a fresh set of talking points from the leftie blogosphere.

sarcasm = on.

Yes, the dark overlord Kos sent my arguments to me via the chip they've put in my brain. ya busted me.

sarcasm = off.

AlphaLiberal said...

Here' s a fundamental issue I have with the line that Althouse and right wingers take on Wright's statements aired Friday:

Wright"s "God damn" comments were broadcast in context and explained as him saying God would condemn America's sins.

Does Althouse think God does not condemn America's sins? Does Althouse think, like so many right wingers apparently do, that America has never done wrong and must never be criticized?

Instead of responding to Jeremiah Wright's core argument, which Althouse clearly indicates she grasps, she simply returns to the 2-second gotchya clip.

So, what about that core argument, Ann? Do you think God has a problem with the injustices perpetuated by our government over our nation's history?

Or, do you think God is fine with the intentional massacres and dispossessions of native Americans? Do you think God's fine with slavery and injustice?

Because that's what you're saying by your attacks on the Reverend.

AlphaLiberal said...

I don't know why I bother with fen, but think it reflects a lot of wingers' thinking:
Why? Are blacks too frickin fragile to be treated like every other race in America?

Reverse it. Blacks are the most racist demographic in America. When are they going to start trying to understand the experience of everyone else?


The point is not to approach the subject of race with arrogance. To admit that white people don't know what it means to be black in America today or 20-40 years ago as many alive today were coming up.

Racial disparities abound in America today. Infant birthrates are up, incarceration rates are up, school funding in Af-Am neighborhoods is lower, wages are lower, sentences for like crimes are higher, etc, etc.

Humility is not a weakness.

To your other comments, if you can't see the unique experience of African-Americans as different from any other group, the massive wealth they've given to this nation with their "undervalued" labor over the centuries, then you're ignoring an obvious thing in order to attack a racial group you don't like.

And that's racist.

AlphaLiberal said...

Some praiseworthy comments in this thread:

2maggie2:
Take that approach to *any* thinker and you can successfully "expose" him. But you are really only exposing your own refusal to thoughtfully engage him.
Great comments overall by 2maggie2.

Greg pointed out anti-American comments in a song highlighted at a Republican debate.

But that's okay by Althouse and the right wingers. Not a word of protest about this condemnation of America sung at a Republican debate while John McCain sat by and said NOTHING! Does John McCain really believe this?

Here's the link to the anti-American Republican video.

"Why should God bless America?
She's forgotten he exists.
And has turned her back on everything
That made her what she is."

downtownlad said...

I read the entire 9/11 sermon. I think it's false to say that he blamed America. I didn't read it that way at all. It was a very good sermon. He condemns the violence of 9/11 along with the violence that we've inflicted on others. Violence begets violence. And he's quoting a Fox News analyst when he says that. What in the world is wrong with that? It also happens to be true, as we can see in Iraq where our war has now led to 100,000 deaths minimum.

You can listen to the whole sermon here.

http://dallassouthblog.com/2008/03/23/jeremiah-wright-911-sermon-in-full-context-what-fox-news-doesnt-want-you-to-hear/

PatCA said...

Alpha Liberal (and maggie), the problem is your lack of perspective. What you call thoughtful, humble interaction is in practice simple self-loathing. America bad.

In your world, in academia or media or the arts, any interpretation short of total agreement with what any person accuses us of is wrong or racist. Your critique never ever analyzes what's wrong with other cultures or other countries or what's right with the West; so it becomes a religion, an article of faith, that no one can assail. You are martyrs for your self-loathing cause.

I ask you, like Theo does, America is evil compared to what? Paradise? What would you replace us with?

Our Paul said...

To Joan:

Well, you know Colombo never got it right until the last 5 minutes of any given one hour episode.

The initial time frame in my first post was an attempt to point that Professor Althouse’s two successive posts, within a short time span, were not discursive, but political knife jobs. The first by its very length, style, and meticulous construction was not an off the cuff job. You, as a teacher, and writer, can appreciate that… Whether it was written within the time span of 3 hours I will leave to your Maker to judge…

The second post was allegorical and metaphorical. If her successive posts, in the span of three hours were character assassinations of Wright, and indirectly, Obama (ah yes, guilt by association), then a mutilated corpse might fit the picture. As a teacher and writer, I am sure you have used similar techniques…

Now then, Professor Althouse is an Academic at two prestigious law schools, as such she is knows the rules of discourse and dialectic. Her bouquet of flowers was appreciated, an surely indicated that she offended some. The question is whether in future posts she will illuminate and advance political discourse. There just might be an occasional reader who is not looking to have his fun bone tickled, but may wish to learn some thing…

And, as fans of teaching know, hidden in the art is repetition of the message. Go back and carefully listen to the link I gave on slave ships. Listen to the story, listen to the passion in that voice, and ask yourself how much you really know or understand about Rev. Wright’s sermons, and what they meant to those he was preaching to.

John C in Chico said...

“Right now, you can go to Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and see Christians in 140-degree weather. They have to have on a tie. Because that's what it means to be a Christian.”

Rev. Wright correctly identified May and June as a hot time in Africa. And Africa can be hot – a 1922 scorcher in Libya set the world’s record at 136°F, a fact that Wright and Farrakhan may have picked up when they visited Quadaffi there in 1984.

But “140-degree weather” in West Africa? In the countries Wright lists, the highest average maximum reported is from the climate station at Podor, in Senegal’s northeast, at 106°F; coastal Senegal is relatively balmy at 88°F. According to the Ghana Meterological Service, that country as an annual mean maximum temperature of 93°F. Yet cooler, Nigeria’s Chief Environmental Scientist reported that country’s maximum temperature as 90°F.

Surely one can find a few really hot spots and really hot days in these West African countries, but their average maximum temperatures bracket those of Phoenix, America’s fifth largest city. Okay, maybe Christians don’t wear ties in Phoenix, but why exaggerate environmental conditions in Africa so?

William said...

I am a white male. I grew up in a mostly black housing project and have lived and worked among blacks for most of my life. For the most part I have liked and disliked black people at about the same rate as I have liked and disliked white people. I must admit, however, that I am capable of having some extremely bigoted thoughts. For the sake of the black people I am fond of, I try to suppress these thoughts and not generalize from a bad experience. (And, believe me, if you grow up in a black neighborhood you are going to have some bad experiences.) I do not think the Rev Wright is the most bigoted man in America. I have known white people of some authority say, in private, things more hateful than that said by the Rev Wright. What I condemn in Rev Wright and the black community in general is an inability to look beyond their own grievances and see anything worth cherishing in America or western traditions. In the sixth century and then again the 18th, Christianity was the motivating force behind the abolition of slavery. The Mamelukes were a warrior caste of Muslim slaves who fought to the death for their right to remain slaves and inflict slavery upon conquered kaffirs. Ironic, huh. There is very little in Islam to suggest that it is antithetical to slavery, and much in Christianity to suggest that it is. My guess is that this is not a subject that ever came up in his conversations with Minister Farrakhan. And about the AIDS issue: Why didn't Moyers question him about his statement that whites invented AIDS? This is a kind of blood libel. It should also be noted that greedy, big pharma drug companies are producing the only effective drugs against AIDS. They do this for money and not Christian charity--exactly the same as the slave trade. If Capitalism is to be condemned for its sins, should it not be praised for its virtues? The white community has produced its share of blowhards, bigots, and villains, but there does seem a willingness amonth the larger community to condemn these people. From Mike Tyson to Michael Vicks, from Marion Berry to Sharpe James, there does seem to be an inability among blacks to criticize one of their own. I am not saying that I am free of bigotry; I'm saying that I'm less of a bigot than the Rev Wright and less of a hypocrite than Obama.

Fen said...

Alpha: The point is not to approach the subject of race with arrogance.

Lack of humility != arrogance

To admit that white people don't know what it means to be black in America today

Yawn. To admit that black people don't know what it means to be native, hispanic, Asian, etc. in America today...

Racial disparities abound in America today. Infant birthrates are up, incarceration rates are up, school funding in Af-Am neighborhoods is lower, wages are lower, sentences for like crimes are higher, etc, etc.

And who's fault is that? Not mine. And not whites or any other race in America. Here's a tip: playing the white guilt card is not going to make me more sympathetic to the problems, real or imagined, that blacks face.

if you can't see the unique experience of African-Americans as different from any other group

Different but equal. Every race in America has had its share of hardship. When blacks are driven from their land, force marched on a Trail of Tears, and their race almost exterminated, get back to me.

to attack a racial group you don't like. And that's racist.

I don't dislike any racial group. I'm simply tired of the Perpetually Indignant whining about how they are owed something because their ancestors had it bad. Boo frickin hoo.

Get over it. Assimilate or perish.

And count your blessings that you are an American, and that your own descendants aren't back in Somolia, still building huts with mud and straw.

do you think God is fine with the intentional massacres and dispossessions of native Americans? Do you think God's fine with slavery and injustice?

You make the common mistake of judging the past by today's standards. Cultures EVOLVE Alpha. Thats how we went from granting freedom to the merchant class, to extending it to commoners, women and blacks. And even rights for animals, which would have Adams laughed out of the Convention if he had proposed it back then.

And consider that future generations will culturally evolve to point where they judge your support of killing "non-humans" [abortion] in the same manner you judge the historical support of enslaving "sub-humans". Because your side uses the same logic to justify it.

Fen said...

Alpha: And that's racist.

You're the one who supports preferential treatment based on skin color.

You're the one who thinks the black experience trumps the experience of every other race thats come to America.

Fen said...

In your post, there is no saving grace. You could have mentioned Pastor Wright’s service in the Armed Forces, but you did not. You could have, if only out of a sense of decency, mentioned that powerful moment when he compared the white sea captain -

Shorter Paul: "You could have pointed out that Al Queda has built schools, funded hospitals, and fed the starving Pali's..."

Fen said...

Greg: Wow, people sure seem worked up about some guy saying "God Damn America."
So, if people are worked up about that, then they're going to be REALLY worked up about this:


Thats not even a decent Tu Quoque fallacy.

Lyrics that suggest God would not bless America because she has turned away from him

VS

A priest, in his own temple, invoking God to damn the entire country.

These Obama fans are SO priceless.

Revenant said...

Wright"s "God damn" comments were broadcast in context and explained as him saying God would condemn America's sins. Does Althouse think God does not condemn America's sins?

Of course he doesn't. The Christian God doesn't condemn groups -- only individuals. The notion that God would send an entire nation to Hell for its "sins" is theologically ridiculous.

Revenant said...

The point is not to approach the subject of race with arrogance. To admit that white people don't know what it means to be black in America today or 20-40 years ago as many alive today were coming up.

The median age for black people in the United States is 29, ergo the vast majority of black people also have no idea what it was like to experience the days of racism. Barack Obama is an example of this -- he not only has no memory of the bad old days of racism, but didn't even live in a white-majority society until adulthood (and quickly signed up for a black supremacist church upon doing so).

coffee260 said...

Ann--I heard from a reliable source that a staff member of Bill Moyers,--I don't remember her name or position--thought Wright's media tour would make for good PR. The word is that their intent was to get Wright out in the public to give less incendiary speeches so that the media would have those sound bites to play instead of those they've been playing over and over. I can't confirm this but if somebody in the media are interested they should start in the office of Bill Moyers asking the question, did you have anything to do with Wright's media blitz?

william said...
This comment has been removed by the author.