February 24, 2010

Disingenuous or stupid, Hendrik Hertzberg calls Rush Limbaugh a disgusting race-baiter.

Hertzberg presents an audio clip in which Rush plays and comments on an audio clip of President Obama pronouncing the word "ask" "ax" (or "aksk"). As Hertzberg puts it:
Limbaugh, after saying “Did you catch that?” and playing the sound bite a second time, sneers, “Obama can turn on that black dialect when he wants to and turn it off.” Then he suggests that the incorrect pronunciation was purposely spelled that way on the teleprompter. (Very funny.) Then he speculates that the President was trying to “reach out” to “the Reverend Jackson.” (Ho ho, if I may be permitted a bit of “black dialect.”) Then he says,
If I use the word “ax” for the rest of the day, am I going to get beat up and creamed for making fun of this clean, crisp, calm, cool new articulate President? Maybe we should do it and see what happens. I’ll ax my advisers.
Emphasis Limbaugh’s....

What is one to make of this?
The reader will have ... noticed the racist coding of Limbaugh’s description of Obama as “clean” and “articulate.” Yes, I know—Joe Biden used the same words about Obama during the campaign. But you’d have to be pretty obtuse not to notice the difference in intent, the difference between awkwardness and haplessness on the one hand, malice and contempt on the other.
But Limbaugh didn't say: “Obama can turn on that black dialect when he wants to and turn it off.” He said: "This is what Harry Reid was talking about. Obama can turn on that black dialect when he wants to and turn it off." Hertzberg took out the part about Harry Reid!

Back in January, when the book "Game Change," came out, there was much talk about the report that Reid had said — during the 2008 campaign — that Obama would be able to succeed because he's "light-skinned" and speaks "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." Yes, Reid said "Negro." And he apologized. So the racial remark about dialect was Reid's. It went right along with Joe Biden's "clean and articulate" remark that Hertzberg concedes he knew Rush was riffing on.

Rush has been making a big deal out of Biden and Reid's racial remarks. It's a running theme on the show that the Democrats are racist, and Rush riffs on this material all the time. For example, Rush did a monologue on January 11th called "Why Harry Reid's 'Negro Dialect' Comment is Devastatingly Racist," and one on January 12th called "We're Dwelling On It, Dingy Harry! We Won't Ignore Democrat Racism."

Limbaugh has "malice and contempt" all right, but it's for the way Democrats use race. Reid had said that Obama could turn "Negro dialect" on and off, which suggests that he'd turn it on when it was politically useful. In that light, the original audio clip was funny, suggesting — facetiously — that Obama's slip was a deliberate turning on of the "dialect" to suit his purpose.

So Biden's remark only evinced "awkwardness and haplessness"? Why not come down hard on him? Apparently, it's for the same reason that Hertzberg didn't see fit to bring Harry Reid into the discussion at all: He's a Democrat.

Hertzberg's "What is one to make of this?" is an inane pretense of puzzlement. It was obviously humor, and it came from someone who is trying to expose the racial foibles of the Democrats. Hertzberg ends by calling Rush a "vicious demagogue." Hertzberg is, himself, the vicious demagogue — unless he's an idiot who didn't listen to the clip himself or who can't hear humor that doesn't suit his political tastes.

Hertzberg is scandalized that Rush Limbaugh is "enabled by nominally respectable media corporations and advertisers." But the scandal, I would say, is that Hertzberg is able to publish such dishonest trash in that great magazine, The New Yorker.

ADDED: Language Log doesn't understand my point, and I respond at length here.

AND: Hertzberg responds and I respond.

115 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

How many people who hate Limbaugh spend all day listening to him in the hope of catching him in some alleged faux pas about race.

And how many of those people have been converted as conservatives from listening to Rush Limbaugh ever day?

prairie wind said...

I work with people who sneered at Bush saying "nucular" but not a word on the "ax." It was the funniest slip-up I've heard in a long, long time.

kentuckyliz said...

Rush nails the reaction to him before it happens. Walked straight into his trap.

rhhardin said...

I wasn't sure Obama said ax, but it was an opportunity to nail Reid anyway.

Obama wouldn't have picked up the dialect in the first place and so would have no reason to slip on it.

More probably tongue-tied.

BJK said...

Rush says something to goad a media response.
Media responds in-kind.

Rush's audience already knows the subtext, not affected by criticism. Media's audience already predisposed to dislike Limbaugh....wouldn't understand the context or know the source material that Rush is riffing from.


Wash.
Rinse.
Repeat.


WV-maguwzin -- Japanese version of "Gremlins" Gizmo.

PWS said...

I don't listen to Limbaugh (dont' care for him so I ignore him) but what strikes me is that he uses these incidents as Ann has described but there's something else happening too.

Rush gets to talk about these terms (kind of like the retard incident), say these words, and so they're "in the air"; whether intentional or not, it creates a frame: Obama, dialect, Negro. They are reminders.

To point to another example, I remember when OJ Simpson was arrested, there were a lot of comments about "reasonable doubt" and holes in the sequence of events, etc. (I won't say "narrative" Ann). His non-guilt was "in the air;" there was a frame created and Cochran exploited it. There was more too it obviously, but part of it was preparing the potential jurors' minds.

I'm not saying Rush is intentionally doing anything, or whether he is a racist or not, but say this for the man: he knows how to play to his audience and keep making the $$$$. He's nothing more or less to me.

Original Mike said...

Yes, I know—Joe Biden used the same words about Obama during the campaign. But you’d have to be pretty obtuse not to notice the difference in intent, the difference between awkwardness and haplessness on the one hand, malice and contempt on the other.

You'd also have to be pretty obtuse not to notice the difference in intellect.

garage mahal said...

So Biden's remark only evinced "awkwardness and haplessness"? Why not come down hard on him? Apparently, it's for the same reason that Hertzberg didn't see fit to bring Harry Reid into the discussion at all: He's a Democrat.

Mmm, I don't know, perhaps because Reid apologized? And what's not hilarious about calling health care reform about "reparations", or bending over grabbing our ankles because Obama's father was black. Hahahaha.

former law student said...

Most likely Obama twisted his tongue, having just got done saying "access." But "aks" is from the original Anglo-Saxon word, surviving in West Somerset speech.

Even though Harry Reid's original thought is buried in Limbaugh's statement, the prolonged riff on Obama's Negrosity is Limbaugh's alone -- I don't recall Reid's dwelling on it.

Defenseman Emeritus said...

Mmm, I don't know, perhaps because Reid apologized?

So did Imus. Didn't keep the race-baiters from demanding his head and forcing his termination. Why are they so forgiving with Reid?

LarsPorsena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Here's an idea for black people. Say "ask" and not "ax." Try on the King's English. For fun, for a lark.

LarsPorsena said...

I'm willing to wager there are a substantial number of Rush listeners at the "New Yorker". That's where their daily dose of righteous indignation.

And as for the I-don't-listen-to -Limbaugh-but commenters...bullshit.
You sneak in a few guilty minutes a week. You're not fooling anybody.

garage mahal said...

So did Imus. Didn't keep the race-baiters from demanding his head and forcing his termination. Why are they so forgiving with Reid?

Reid doesn't have decades of making racially offensive jokes in his history, that's why.

edutcher said...

I thought Dingy Harry said it was a GOOD thing Barry could do this.

Barry, like him or not, is better spoken than most of my skinfolk. I don't doubt he had it written that way on TOTUS; look at what happened when he tried to say corpsman

Defenseman Emeritus said...

Mmm, I don't know, perhaps because Reid apologized?

So did Imus. Didn't keep the race-baiters from demanding his head and forcing his termination. Why are they so forgiving with Reid?


So did Trent Lott. Didn't do him much good, did it?

WV "pregesse" French for with child and skinny.

jimbino said...

There's nobody gonna beat Limbaugh at this game.

And if you are researching American dialects, you will have to get used to the term "Negro dialect."

Who started all this PC nonsense, anyway? I have no idea anymore how to refer to Negroes in various parts of the world. Somebody please explain:

Is a Negro of Africa a Black African or an African Negro? He's not an African American, of course.

Is an Ethiopian a Black African? If he lives in America is he an African American? Was Basil Rathbone really an African American?

I'm an Irish, Latin-American-born Caucasian American. I don't get my back up if someone calls me Irish or Mick, Hispanic or Spic, Honky or Gringo. It's time to stop coddling Jesse Jackson and his ilk.

Time was when the Irish of "No Irish Need Apply" were referred to as Mickeys and suffered discrimination, but they got over it. Jesse still has a way to go, apparently, as do most of my fellow Americans, to judge by the press.

former law student said...

Reid had said that Obama could turn "Negro dialect" on and off.

Well, not like a light switch, as Rush's phrasing implies.

The book quoted Reid as saying he "believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.'"

Reid's statment lacks the implication of facile switching back and forth.

former law student said...

"the King's English"

Which king? Because if you're talking King Alfred, it's aks all the way.

LarsPorsena said...

"Reid's statment lacks the implication of facile switching back and forth."

Apparently that's in the eye of the beholder.

LarsPorsena said...

"Reid's statment lacks the implication of facile switching back and forth."

Apparently that's in the eye of the beholder.

Maybe that should be... in the ear of the listener.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Mmm, I don't know, perhaps because Reid apologized?

Well then that makes it all better. You know when you make those kinds of verbal gaffes in Hollywood you have to go to rehab.

But hey, Rush has good company in racists. Remember how Bill Clinton was accused of racism in the primaries? And Geraldine Ferraro? Oh how they gots so indignant about that. Hey, come to think of it, did they apologize?

SMGalbraith said...

I loathe (yeah, that's the right word) much of what Limbaugh does. The entire "liberals are evil" worldview and everything that emanates from it.

But when he holds the mirror of race up to liberals and they shriek in horror at him but not at what they see, it is something to behold.

Limbaugh can be useful; but only in very small doses.

traditionalguy said...

The floating standard strikes again. When Dems are race baiting the blacks, it must be the GOP that is race baiting to notice that form of attacking the GOP in a world where even mentioning race is considered evil.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Rush has been making a big deal out of Biden and Reid's racial remarks. It's a running theme on the show that the Democrats are racist, and Rush riffs on this material all the time.

Not all but I’ll wager a lot of them are. Oh I don’t mean good old boy Robert Byrd KKK racist but racist in the sense that when a ‘clean articulate black (story book) man who doesn’t have a Negro accent comes along, they feel it necessary to point that out as if the rest of us can’t tell the difference between a Snoop Dog and a JC Watts. It’s almost as if they’re saying to the rest of the African American Community, ‘why can’t ya’ll be more like your cousin Barrack?’

I think that is why Clinton and Ferraro were floored during the primaries when they are accused of racism. How could we be racists when we want to do so much for you? We CARE! Reid may have apologized but so did Mel Gibson and few people will say Mel doesn’t have a beef with Jews. The only difference is it took a few drinks to see where Gibson’s prejudice is whereas Harry was just soberly forth wright.
Watching liberals trying to justify this kind of stuff is hilarity in its own right.

former law student said...

So did Imus. Didn't keep the race-baiters from demanding his head and forcing his termination. Why are they so forgiving with Reid?

Boy, the commentariat has no ear for nuance today. To put it in terms hopefully everyone can grasp:

Reid was polite but archaic, while Imus was gratuitously offensive.

Compare: "Sarah Palin has a mentally retarded son," to "Palin gave birth to a retard." Or, perhaps more analogously to "nappy-headed ho," "to a drooling moron."

Shanna said...

I don’t care if he says “ax” all day long, so long as he stays away from his faux southern accent, which I don’t especially appreciate, especially when he uses it to try to sound stupid, ala his “merci beaucoup” of a year or two ago.

LarsPorsena said...

Everybody knows Harry Reid has earned a hood pass

garage mahal said...

Watching liberals trying to justify this kind of stuff is hilarity in its own right.

Except at the end of the day, nobody really thinks Reid is a racist, while most non dittoheads think Limbaugh is. And this a great news for Republicans.

rocketeer67 said...

Except at the end of the day, nobody really thinks Reid is a racist...

See! That right there...more hilarity.

nrn312 said...

Try on the King's English. For fun, for a lark.

You betcha.

Alex said...

garage & fls would make perfect members of the Thoughtpolice.

Peter V. Bella said...

So all the black comedians and Black commentators who made fun of Bush I, Bush II, and Reagan are racists too. Right? Right? FLS,Garage, and other elploding heads?

BTW, the word ax is not purely Black dialect. It is street dialect form the 1920s and 30s. White Gangsters used it all the time, especially when they were yelling at someone.

rcocean said...

Funny how "Media Matters", MSNBC and many liberal/left writers feel absolutely no compunction about lying or making intellectually dishonest attacks on conservatives.

Is this due to the left-wing "ends justify the means" attitude? Or a simple of lack of decency?

You make the call.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Hendrik Hertzberg? Who he?

Peter V. Bella said...

Why is it when Democrats apologize, everything is OK, the sun comes up, daisys bloom in winter, and we are all supposed to move along, heh, heh, there is too much of the people's work to do and all that excrement?

When Republicans apologize, they get fired, they resign, or they are hounded and harassed until they get fired or resign.

Could it be, nah, maybe, no way, the Dems are so good and pure, but, but, isn't it HYPOCRISY.

sonicfrog said...

Reid doesn't have decades of making racially offensive jokes in his history, that's why.

How do you know? The press only reported the "negro dialect" comment because someone else released the fact, and the press had to respond. This may be a more common mode with Reid's thinking than we know.

And as far as the Reid apology goes, how do we know if he was sincere, that he only apologized because he got caught? Or is that only for black people like Tiger Woods... Oops, was I just racist there?

Michael said...

Garage "Except at the end of the day, nobody really thinks Reid is a racist, while most non dittoheads think Limbaugh is. And this a great news for Republicans."
Why not stipulate once and for all that all conservatives are racist and stupid and that all liberals are smart and non-racist. Why would you hang around all these dumb racists all day in a conservative chat room if you were really a liberal? You are pulling our legs, right? Or else you would be over in one of the more thoughtful liberal spaces. Gosh, you are not very unpredictable for a smart, non-racist, free thinker.

Almost Ali said...

Obama wouldn't have picked up the dialect in the first place and so would have no reason to slip on it.

Maybe not in the first instance, but most definitely in the second, i.e. Michelle.

Talking "proper" is a risky, often dangerous proposition in or near any big city ghetto, and it's been almost impossible to educate African Americans out of this defiant habit, particularly when spoken among themselves.

To speak "proper" is an admission that one understands. Even worse, that the condition of understanding leads to responsibility, the bane of Affirmative Acting.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

I assume a "non dittohead" is someone who isn't a fan, so rarely listens to, Rush.

If non dittoheads don't frequently listen to Rush, I wonder how they can form the opinion he's a racist?

Maybe the non dittoheads form their opinions by reading what people like Hendrick Hertzberg write about Rush. The whole point of this post is that by omitting the context and failing to point out that Rush was talking about Harry Reid's use the the "black dialect" phrase, Hertzberg successfully makes Rush look like the race-baiter.

I think I may have figured out how non dittoheads are able to form the opinion that Rush is a racist.

Shanna said...

Maybe the non dittoheads form their opinions by reading what people like Hendrick Hertzberg write about Rush.

Don’t forget all the opinions they form based on fake quotes!!!

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
exhelodrvr1 said...

garage,
"Except at the end of the day, nobody really thinks Reid is a racist"

Actually, at the end of the day people realize that liberals are the racists, because of their low expectations for minorities.

Roger J. said...

And at the risk of being serious for a bit, we could look at the OED's etymology of ask--"ax" is a very old construction (Beth pointed that out several years ago)

Maguro said...

Hendrik Hertzberg sounds like a ski jumper or a biathlete.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

rhhardin said...

Imus wasn't offensive.

That was a moveon.org hit job in support of Hillary, who Imus was going to nail in 2008.

Jim said...

exhel -

"Actually, at the end of the day people realize that liberals are the racists, because of their low expectations for minorities."

You nailed it. Bush called it the "low bigotry of soft expectations" and that was just about the nicest way I've ever heard it put.

At the end of the day though, it's a pernicious racism that pervades the Left. That garage and fls would make excuses for it makes them every bit as much guilty of it as those like Harry Reid and Joe Biden for practicing it.

Jim said...

make that "soft bigotry of low expectations"...

Fred4Pres said...

This politician talks funny too...

He also says the Tea Party will go away when the economy improves. I suspect his days are probably more numbered than the Tea Party movement.

bagoh20 said...

There is only one description of people who continue to find offense in this crap: "Pussies"

Fred4Pres said...

rocoean, I think he was kidding (hence the sarcasm comment). I did not laugh, but I am not sure he was serious either.

Fred4Pres said...

My bad. rcocean. I think Rodger J. was kidding.

Anthony said...

They used to call that code-switching.

Apparently, uncontroversial until a conservative points it out.

garage mahal said...

Actually, at the end of the day people realize that liberals are the racists, because of their low expectations for minorities.

Limbaugh was so caught up in black dialect he totally misses what Obama said:

OBAMA: As a condition of receiving access to Title I funds we will "ax" all states to put in place a plan to adopt and certify standards that are college and career ready in reading and math.

If he wasn't such a fucking asshole obsessed with race he would have commended the statement that states receiving funds must certify standards in reading and math.

Der Hahn said...

Except at the end of the day, nobody really thinks Reid is a racist...

Nobody but the people that know he's a member of a religion that barred blacks from leadership positions into the late 1970's.

Or does that only count when it's Mitt Romney?

ricpic said...

Hertzberg thinks that if he can pin the R word on Rush, or on any other opponent of his darling Obama then that opponent will have been neutralized. What Hertzberg and his fellows in the liberal chattering class fail to realize is that for the millions of white suburban matrons who experienced an orgasm of self-congratulation voting "historically" for Obama simply because he was black...well, that's over. Reality has set in and the next vote will be reality based, even if it puts them in the same camp as "those" people.

traditionalguy said...

The tacit evaluation of whites in the era of affirmative action goes like this: 1) If a white or a black is color blind and loves both races, but he votes against paying reparations cash and does not favor hiring preferences, then he is always a racist, but 2) If a white disses blacks all day long with implicatons of inferiority in Jim Crowe speech patterns, but he also votes for cash reparations and hiring preferences eternally, then he is not racist. Its very simple. Harry Reid is good and Clarence Thomas is bad. It is a con job.

Mike said...

For a historical take on "ask" v "aks", google A Way With Words and listen to the "English Down Under" episode. Apparently, "aks" can be traced back as far as Chaucer.

Chef Mojo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
exhelodrvr1 said...

Garage,
"If he wasn't such a fucking asshole obsessed with race he would have commended the statement that states receiving funds must certify standards in reading and math."

I know that you're frustrated with the lack of progress on his promises, but that's no way to talk about the President.

AJ Lynch said...

Let me see if I understand the logic of The Root.

If Obama loses in 2012, he could damage the election prospects for future black candidates. Then The Root may have to add Obama to their list of blaks they would remove from the history books.

LonewackoDotCom said...

This post is basically just more venting. Not that Althouse doesn't have a point and that - purely because she gets a lot of visitors - it might have an impact. However, any impact it has will be short-lived. It's not like she - or other r/w bloggers - have a long-term strategy of showing someone's supporters how they're being misled or even of helping those few who do have such a strategy.

In this particular case, I'd do things a bit differently, and the first thing I'd do is find out who left off the Harry Reid bit: HH, or Media Matters for America.

Christy said...

Oh please! My own accent is very flexible. When I'm homesick or just back from home it gets more Southern. When I read Georgette Heyer novels I find myself speaking Regency English. Some of us speak what we hear around us. I have to fight adapting a Jamaican accent when I'm there. I want to sound as pretty as they do.

Michael said...

Oh, please, give us more on the amazing linguistic migration of the ancient pronunciation of ask as ax from merry old England to the lips of African Americans. I am very interested in this. I have never heard a non-African American pronounce it thus. Surely no one is making the case that this is an inherited usage?

Ann Althouse said...

I deleted that post that some say was "kidding." I didn't get it, and it will be taken the wrong way by a lot of people. Sorry. I tried to figure out the reference and couldn't.

littlebeartoe said...

I find the Professor's continued defense of Limbaugh interesting, because it's unexpected. Most people I know think me (perhaps foolishly) intelligent, and they're usually quite surprised, whether they're conservative or liberal, when I contend that Limbaugh is actually a careful and shrewd political analyst.

Limbaugh does this kind of riffing for fifteen hours a week, every week. Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden do it for much less time, yet they can't help but step into much more easily misinterpreted and/or more easily unfairly interpreted casts just about once a week, every week.

Who's smarter?

Brad said...

Obama, well-read supergenius that he is, wasn't channeling Chaucer so knock the etymology lessons off. He was doing precisely what he's 'accused' of doing: pandering to the 'plebes'.

Ann Althouse said...

LonewackoDotCom said..."In this particular case, I'd do things a bit differently, and the first thing I'd do is find out who left off the Harry Reid bit: HH, or Media Matters for America."

The mistake you are making is assuming that the Harry Reid part has been edited out of the clip. It has not. That's why I said "unless he's an idiot who didn't listen to the clip himself."

Comrade X said...

hey garage, with all due respect, fuck you. your democrat party is the slavingest, klaniest, jimcrowiest, lynchingest, bull connerest, civil rights filibusteringest party of all time. democrats own all that. without democrats, there'd be no need for affirmative action. don't get all high and mighty now just because y'all finally came around. you're like a whore who got religion or a lush who got on the wagon. but congrats on the improvement, cuz y'all sucked ass.

garage mahal said...

Comrade X
I'm an Independent, but thanks for the concern!

Jane said...

garage mahal said.. .

If he wasn't such a fucking asshole obsessed with race he would have commended the statement that states receiving funds must certify standards in reading and math.

The federal government giveth, and the federal government taketh away.

Get your laws off my kid's education.

My little Pre-K boy knows his helping verbs, his prepositions, and his latin noun endings. He knows his science facts, and a history timeline. And it was effortless. We go for classical education in a fun way, and not a penny do we get from the blasted federal government, but they take their lump from our wallets.

The Crack Emcee said...

It's funny:

When Rush is joking about race, I laugh. But when Ann, Glenn, whoever, tries to make a serious point about race - especially about who's a racist and who ain't, blah, blah, blah - it just sucks, and all I want is for them to shut up.

If you're not pointing out the absurdity of race, as Rush does, then it's just a pain.

Ralph L said...

Is a Negro of Africa a Black African or an African Negro?
Someone posted an article (here?) that referred to Obama's father as an African-American African.

In D H Fischer's Albion's Seed, he shows that a lot of what we think of as (pre-rap) black English is from the English West Country dialect.

Quaestor said...

former law student wrote:
But "aks" is from the original Anglo-Saxon word, surviving in West Somerset speech.

Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph... What are we to do with you fls? Leaving aside the fact that the word is ascian and in that form is closer in sound to our word ask than to axe, are to to assume that when tongue tied Obama lapses into his native Somerset dialect? (after all, the Obamas hail from Taunton Deane, their ancient family seat) Or maybe his mouth is so full of cheddar cheese that he forgets he's an American? Or perhaps he's such a scholar that he likes to occasionally tease us with his etymological brilliance. May we expect him next to start inflecting his verbs?

(btw, Anglo-Saxon is a name of an ancient people. Their language was Old English, just as the Austrians are are people whose language is German)

LonewackoDotCom said...

I don't have sound here, so I can't verify what MMFA has or has not included.

Mikio said...

Althouse would win this argument if she were making it to, say, foreigners who’d never heard of Rush Limbaugh and she was using only the isolated snippet of context provided by Hertzberg. Yes, she’s correct that Limbaugh carefully there attributed to Harry Reid the notion:

“Obama can turn on that black dialect when he wants to and turn it off.”

But for Althouse to act as if Limbaugh is innocent because he doesn’t agree with it (the cynical way, naturally, as opposed to the complimentary way Reid intended which Limbaugh himself admitted ) is what's either disingenuous or stupid.

Additional context to provide said foreigners about Limbaugh:

Limbaugh: Obama will use Haiti to boost credibility with "light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country"

So here he is accusing Obama of wanting to cynically use the natural disaster in Haiti to score political points with blacks, but we’re to believe he thinks Obama is innocent of using some black dialect to score some political points with them that way.

*Sigh*

Face it, the Haiti natural disaster one is a much harsher accusation by Limbaugh on the scale of slimy, cynical political point scoring, but Althouse is arguing Limbaugh doesn’t agree with or has ever asserted the much milder dialect one. And that's why Limbaugh is yet again an innocent victim in all this according to her. Yeah, he's actually defending Obama from Reid and Biden, right? Oh, and she's not a conservative blogger either, don't forget. haha

former law student said...

Anglo-Saxon is a name of an ancient people. Their language was Old English

Calling Anglo-Saxon "Old English" is a relatively modern fad. And you mean "acsian" of course. I mean thousands of white English speakers use "aks" every day.

If he wasn't such a fucking asshole obsessed with race he would have commended the statement that states receiving funds must certify standards in reading and math.

I would tag this post "Limbaugh is like Beavis and Butthead," because Limbaugh listens for the cheap laugh rather than for content:

David VanDriessen: You know this could be a real positive experience for you guys. There's a whole world of possibilities to discover when we realize we don't need TV to entertain us.
Butt-head: Huh huh, he said anus.
Beavis: Entertain-us, anus.
David VanDriessen: Did you guys hear a word I said?
Butt-head: Yeah, 'anus'.
Beavis: [chuckling] He he, y-yeah I heard it too.


Barack VanObama: Did you guys hear a word I said?
Butt-baugh: Yeah, 'aks'.

Beldar said...

This is a nice takedown, for which I congratulate you, Professor Althouse.

But your mourning for the magazine and its standards is 15 years or so late. I still subscribe -- my sole lefty magazine subscription -- but The New Yorker has not been a great magazine for a long, long time. It's still well edited for the most part, but its famously fierce fact-checking is long since gone. Genuine subtlety is rare in its pages. And Hertzberg is one of the one-dimensional clowns-in-chief.

edutcher said...

jimbino said...

Time was when the Irish of "No Irish Need Apply" were referred to as Mickeys and suffered discrimination, but they got over it. Jesse still has a way to go, apparently, as do most of my fellow Americans, to judge by the press.

Mick or Paddy they were called (hence the phrase Paddy Wagon). They didn't "get over it", there were others to take their place at the bottom of the food chain - Italians, Poles, Russians, and Chinese. Meritorious service in wars from Chapultepec to Antietam to Little Big Horn to San Juan Hill to Chateau Thierry also helped, but the Irish assimilated, they didn't necessarily forgive and forget.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Among the most absurd apologies have been apologies for slavery by politicians. For one thing, slavery is not something you can apologize for, any more than you can apologize for murder.

If someone says to you that he murdered someone near and dear to you, what are you supposed to say? 'No problem, we all make mistakes'? Not bloody likely!

Slavery is too serious for an apology and somebody else being a slaveowner is not something for you to apologize for. When somebody who has never owned a slave apologizes for slavery to somebody who has never been a slave, then what began as mushy thinking has degenerated into theatrical absurdity-- or, worse yet, politics.

Slavery has existed all over the planet for thousands of years, with black, white, yellow and other races being both slaves and enslavers. Does that mean that everybody ought to apologize to everybody else for what their ancestors did? Or are the only people who are supposed to feel guilty the ones who have money that others want to talk them out of?"


-- Thomas Sowell

Did you see the word "absurdity" in there? Also, I guess, this is the place where I should point out I merely ask for donations,...

You're all welcome for my enlightened attitude about all this - NOW PAY UP, HONKIES!!!

Alex said...

Donny Deutsch makes racist slur against Cuban American Republican

Gotta love those lefties, always getting away with clear racism.

From Inwood said...

I’ve got it!

The Hertzberg certainty principle:

"The more precisely the snippet criticizes The Anointed One, the less precisely Rush Limbaugh can disclaim that it is racist.”

From Inwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

You know, there is really no problem with saying 'ax' instead of 'ask' when that is the dialect that you grew up with.

People who have regional dialects learn those at a very young age and when you listen to them speak, it is often quite easy to pin down the location. West Virginia Appalachian versus East LA Valley Girl.


The issue that Rush and Reid BOTH make is that Obama, who grew up in Hawaii (among other places) in a wealthy environment, it putting it on when he slips into the cadence and speech of inner city Blacks. He IS (despite FLS having vapors about it) turning it on at will.

Hillary did a similar trick, albeit not very successfully, when she tried to put on a deep south Arkansas accent.

Tailoring your words to suit the different audience is one thing, and one that all sales people will do. However, putting on a false accent to pretend you are a Black Ghetto Dude, is just out and out lying

Fat Man said...

"that great magazine, The New Yorker"

The New yorker is only a great magazine if you happen to be a leftist who thinks that the upper left side of Manhattan is the coolest place in the world. Otherwise, it is a left wing rag that runs very long and very dull articles about things nobody cares about.

miller said...

I remember the hilarity of Bush's
"Is our children learning?"

When it's pointed out that it was actually "Is - Are Children Learning"; that is, a mid-sentence correction of grammar, the hilarity goes away.

However, for libtards this meme will never go away - HAR HAR HAR BUSH AN IDJIT!

So Gander, Meet Goose. You're both in the same Sauce.

(I would say Pot, Kettle, Black, but you know that would tag me as RACIST)

Ken said...

Democrats need race front and center. Without a vast majority of the African American vote, they become an asterisk. I seriously doubt that there are many prominent Democrats who are racists but there are very few who not obsessed with race and will try to find it everywhere. They have to. They have nothing else. They will find "code words", they will invent slights and slurs. They will pick at every scab and scar because if those heal African Americans might vote for their individual interests. They might even vote Republican.

Obama was supposed to be the post racial President. His administration is the most race conscious in memory. His party demands it. He delivers. Hertzberg serves the primary purpose of his job in the lapdog media, as a propagandist. He may even believe what he says. When you never talk to anyone who disagrees with you, you tend to be convinced you can't be mistaken.

Quaestor said...

former law student wrote:
Calling Anglo-Saxon "Old English" is a relatively modern fad

Yeah, that Doc Sam Johnson started a lot of relatively modern fads.

You need an affectionate moniker, something less dry… How about Ms. Information?

JAFAC said...

800 lb gorilla in the room...

"They told me if I voted for John McCain the Vice-President would be awkward and hapless... And they were right."

veni vidi vici said...

"Yes, I know—Joe Biden used the same words about Obama during the campaign. But you’d have to be pretty obtuse not to notice the difference in intent, the difference between awkwardness and haplessness on the one hand, malice and contempt on the other."


This particular species of faux-earnestly-exasperated liberal can never grasp when its ox is being gored. This fellow Hertzberg has beclowned himself with regal pomp and circumstance here.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Hendrik Hertzberg? Who he?

The brains behind Carter's "malaise" speech.

DADvocate said...

As a Southerner, I know a lot of white people who say "ax" and a lot of blacks who say "goot" instead of good. I've never heard a black in Ohio say "goot" though. Just dialects, but some people can't deal with reality and others, like Hertzberg tell damn lies.

former law student said...

Ms. Information?

I'll leave that title for you.

You can hardly call Thomas Jefferson ignorant:

To the Honorable J. Evelyn Denison, M.P., Monticello, November 9, 1825 {modern times compared to the Norman Conquest}

DEAR SIR, --

...[thanking him for the gift of books to the University]..

I learn from you with great pleasure, that a taste is reviving in England for the recovery of the Anglo-Saxon dialect of our language; for a mere dialect it is, as much as those of Piers Plowman, Gower, Douglas, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspeare, Milton, for even much of Milton is already antiquated. The Anglo-Saxon is only the earliest we possess of the many shades of mutation by which the language has tapered down to its modern form. Vocabularies we need for each of these stages from Somner to Bailey, but not grammars for each or any of them. The grammar has changed so little, in the descent from the earliest, to the present form, that a little observation suffices to understand its variations. We are greatly indebted to the worthies who have preserved the Anglo-Saxon form, from Doctor Hickes down to Mr. Bosworth. Had they not given to the public what we possess through the press, that dialect would by this time have been irrecoverably lost. I think it, however, a misfortune that they have endeavored to give it too much of a learned form, to mount it on all the scaffolding of the Greek and Latin, to load it with their genders, numbers, cases, declensions, conjugations, &c. Strip it of these embarrassments, vest it in the Roman type which we have adopted instead of our English black letter, reform its uncouth orthography, and assimilate its pronunciation, as much as may be, to the present English, just as we do in reading Piers Plowman or Chaucer, and with the cotemporary vocabulary for the few lost words, we understand it as we do them. For example, the Anglo-Saxon text of the Lord's prayer, as given us 6th Matthew, ix., is spelt and written thus, in the equivalent Roman type: "Faeder ure thu the eart in heofenum, si thin nama gehalgod. to becume thin rice. gewurthe thin willa on eorthan. swa swa on heofenum. urne daeghwamlican hlaf syle us to daeg. and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgifath urum gyltendum. and ne ge-laedde thu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele'. I should spell and pronounce thus: 'Father our, thou tha art in heavenum. si thine name y-hallowed. come thin ric. y-wurth thine will on earthan. so so on heavenum. ourn daywhamlican loaf sell us to day. and forgive us our guilts so so we forgivath ourum guiltendum. and no y-lead thou us on costnunge, ac a-lease us of evil'. And here it is to be observed by-the-bye, that there is but the single word "temptation" in our present version of this prayer that is not Anglo-Saxon; for the word "trespasses" taken from the French, ({ofeilemata} in the original) might as well have been translated by the Anglo-Saxon "guilts."

The learned apparatus in which Dr. Hickes and his successors have muffled our Anglo-Saxon, is what has frightened us from encountering it. The simplification I propose may, on the contrary, make it a regular part of our common English education.

...[Anglo-Saxon orthography]...

A more recent usage (2000):

Historian Robert Lacey paid tribute to the endurance of Anglo-Saxon vocabulary with a quotation from Churchill: "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills: we shall never surrender."
"All of these are Anglo-Saxon words," pronounced Lacey proudly. Then, after a moment's thought: "Except the last one, which is a French concept."

Jane said...

Former law student,

Thomas Jefferson was of course ignorant. He didn't have the benefit of Head Start, there was no federal funding to his state school, his teacher's weren't members of a union, and on top of that I think he was taught by ministers.

Ghastly.

paul a'barge said...

Behold the smug face of smug evil

Grace O'Malley said...

Albion's Seed to quote some reviews, was so imaginative that experts on both sides of the Atlantic felt that the contours of the four colonial cultures it describes are unrecognizable, that said being one of those folks who descended from those who settled Appalachia whose people originated from Northern England (Yorkshire)I can assure you that had I ever used ax for ask it would have been slapped out of my mouth.

kcom said...

"I think I may have figured out how non dittoheads are able to form the opinion that Rush is a racist."

Only someone who has not actually listened to Rush Limbaugh (clips out of context don't count, and neither do transcripts) could blithely claim that he's a racist. I would say it's true that he's not an overt race panderer, as so many Democrats are, but that's hardly the same as being a racist. As others have pointed out, it's quite hilarious that those who seem to believe that skin color should be an absolute determinant of values, opinions, and political affiliation are the ones accusing those who believe that people should be free to make up their own minds (as to their values, opinions, and political affiliation) of being racists.

And here's one more point, do those of you who think Rush is a racist (or feign believing that) actually think Ann would be a regular listener of him if that was the case? Seriously? I think the obvious answer is that she's actually listened to what he says and has formed her own opinion, whereas too many of you have only read a few quotes out of context provided by people whose mission in life is to paint Rush in the worst possible light, with integrity and honesty and accuracy not being particularly relevant to the job.

OSweet said...

No, no, no ... we need to put ourselves in Hertzberg's shoes. We need to realize that for him Limbaugh can be nothing other than a racist, and Democrats nothing other than irreproachable.

He's been completely conditioned to perceive the world like that, so it's not his fault. It's the only way he can hang in his milieu.

Understand that and it's easy to understand him willfully distorting the quote. And feel pity for him.

algie said...

Ode to Hendrik

You are utterly lacking in wit
And stubbornly you'll not admit
That editing your source
With no sign of remorse
Shows that you are a sad sack of psit *see note


....uuuu..'o^o'..nn!n....algie
Illegitimi nOn carborundum

nb The most common pronounciation for
the letter combination ps is sh

Chase said...

News Flash: Prescriptions for Viagra will no longer be written for members of the American Left. The number one cause of hard-ons and soaked panties on the left is now the simple appearance in any forum of the word "Limbaugh".

DaveW said...

How many people who hate Limbaugh spend all day listening to him in the hope of catching him in some alleged faux pas about race.

I have a working theory that about 75% of Limbaugh's audience is lefties seeking their daily hate. It is pretty odd watching people get so worked up over some dude with an AM-radio talk show.

Issob Morocco said...

Dissemblage Ala Althouse!

The Hertzberg Hen of Hate, its small and narrow minded arguments, lay in a neat pile, cleaved from the bone of liberalism.

Ann, you are the Julia Child of the Blogosphere!

Cheers!

Opus One Media said...

Fred4Pres said...
How many people who hate Limbaugh spend all day listening to him in the hope of catching him in some alleged faux pas about race."

Well fred my man, we don't have to waste an entire day or even part of one of his drug addict's three hour rants to here him spit up the race card.

My questions are, as always, "why do you bother with this fat lying jerk? why give this bloated egomaniac the time of day? are you, the listener so short of brains and abilities that you have to take what this fucking creep spews out daily as anything worthy of a passing glance?"

Rush is a turd in the human punch bowl. Drink at your own risk.

Opus One Media said...

kentuckyliz said...
Rush nails the reaction to him before it happens...."

Liz, Rush nails idiots who fawn over his words...he skins them like road kill.

Why in the world would you like to be like him?

Chase said...

So Opus,

Did you cum when you first read Limbaugh's name at the top of the post, or was it while you were writing about Limbaugh?

c3 said...

"hey garage, with all due respect, fuck you"

See how discussing Rush's show elevates and enlightens.

And that's why I want to listen to Rush

Mike said...

Regarding the pissing match over Anglo-Saxon vs. Old English, check the Oxford English Dictionary. They are synonyms:

Anglo-Saxon: 2. a. The English language as spoken before c1150; Old English.

Old English: 1. The English language of an earlier period; (now) spec. the language in use until around 1150.

They are interchangeable, but apparently Anglo-Saxon is the older of the two: From 1876 H. SWEET Anglo-Saxon Reader xi, “The oldest stage of English before the Norman Conquest is now called ‘Old English,’ but the older name of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ is still very generally used.”

Both parties need to get their facts straight before making idiots of themselves.

Mike said...

P.S. The O.E.D. does list usages of the term "Old English" dating back to the 13th century.

John Cowan said...

Talking "proper" is a risky, often dangerous proposition in or near any big city ghetto, and it's been almost impossible to educate African Americans out of this defiant habit, particularly when spoken among themselves.

Talking "Yankee" is a risky (though no longer usually actually dangerous) proposition in or near any Southern small town, and it's been almost impossible to educate Northern whites out of this defiant habit, particularly when spoken [speaking?] among themselves.

An accent, like an anus or an opinion, is one of those things everyone has. It's normal, and there is no single accent that carries prestige in all parts of the English-speaking world (corresponding to educated formal Parisian French, say). Anyone else in England, never mind elsewhere, who spoke like the Queen would be seen as insufferably posh. Indeed, Obama is only the second president who does not speak with a distinctly regional accent (the first was Reagan, who was a trained actor).

As for the historical origin of ax meaning 'ask', it's disputed, but it's not absurd to suppose that it's a survival. American speech generally is conservative (in the neutral sense of 'preserving old forms'), as shown by our pronouncing our r's in words like art and letter, and our continuing use of fall meaning 'autumn' and I guess meaning 'I suppose', all of which have long since become obsolete in most parts of England.

As another commenter pointed out, ax was still common in U.S. white accents in the early part of the 20th century that have now leveled out to ask. I myself (born 1958, Northern white) say ast rather than asked, and I daresay a good many of the commenters here do the same. "St" is easier for an English tongue to say than "skt".

As for Jefferson, he's quite right to say that you can decode Old English with just a glossary most of the time; for that matter, you can decode Modern French with just a dictionary most of the time. But try writing either of them correctly without learning the grammar!

Jeremy said...

What is this insane sucking up routine of Ann's related to?

Getting a mention on his show?
The man is a flat out racist.

ken in sc said...

Related to an earlier post on this thread--A southern general, I forget which one, said that the main reason the south lost was because the north had more Irish than we did. My ancestors came from Ireland to South Carolina in 1788.

Unrelated to that, Rush's weight goes up and down. I think it's down right now. He's only fat when he wants to be--or doesn't care. What about you?

kcom said...

"The man is a flat out racist."

And you're flat out uninformed.

Either you know nothing about Rush or nothing about the definition of racist. In all likelihood, it's both.

rhhardin said...

What is this insane sucking up routine of Ann's related to?

There's the poet's pleasure of finding the right words for something that's been gotten wrong.

Denise said...

AAs ALWAYS use our dialects for different agendas, partially to piss you people off (ha!)
Fatboy err...Rushbo panders to neocon wingnutz. They are the heirs to Wallace's premise of segregation today, manana y forever. Thankfully some AAs using Mormon millenium plan, gun safety classes...USA showed us with Katrina THIS TIME we're ready for ya!

pnw said...

HAHAHA!

Is anyone else as thrilled as I that the Republican party's grandest poobah is a criminal drug addict who has divorced three times? Family values, my ass.

Guess what, Republicans? Americans had the choice between a Republican and a Marxist nigger and they chose the fuckin' nigger! Where do you supppose that leaves the Republicsns?