June 30, 2011

Mark Halperin called Obama "a dick" and now he says "I can’t explain why I did it."

He's apologized, but I don't care. I want him to explain why he did it. Why is he editor-in-large at Time if he can't explain things as accessible to him as his own mind?



Am I the only one who takes more offense at the blurted phrase "Oh my God" (by Joe Scarborough) than the use of the word "dick" to explain the President's behavior? I think insulting the President is rough political discourse, but saying "Oh my God" is taking the Lord's name in vain.

You know, I bet Halperin was reverting to a style of speech that he uses with his colleagues, off-camera, and he thought he could stick it in, perhaps with bleeping or a comic reference to bleeping that didn't happen. But he's out of touch with the segment of the morning TV audience that experiences "he was a dick" as way off the norm. I mean, I am too.

I'm trying to guess whether that segment is also disturbed by "Oh my God" the way I am. I really don't understand how anyone who believes in God (or has respect for people around them who believe in God) can say use "God" as part of a casual exclamation.

But calling people a dick. It's rude, but actual dicks aren't able to take offense, and even if they were, they wouldn't determine your fate in the afterlife.

255 comments:

1 – 200 of 255   Newer›   Newest»
Scott M said...

He was being "scanned" by Michael Ironside. Completely plausible.

Shouting Thomas said...

Fortunately, he said it on MSNBC, so nobody saw it.

t-man said...

Oh, Halperin will be sent to re-education camp about how wonderful Obama is by the time the election rolls around.

This really is a revealing story, though, given Halperin's overt bias in favor of democrats in the past.

Shouting Thomas said...

And, yes, Obama is a dick.

How else do you explain his loony belief in the green energy scam?

He was out pumping that BS yesterday.

The Monster said...

"saying 'Oh my God' is taking the Lord's name in vain."

No, it isn't. The Lord's name is יהוה‎ (Y*H*V*H), which is, depending on who's speculating, Yahuveh, Yehovah, Yahveh, or some other combination of vowels in place of the asterisks.

Ken said...

What then is listing "God" in the tags?

T J Sawyer said...

I've been very surprised about the number of "O, my God's" that are used on the decorating shows such as on HGTV, for example. (obviously, coached responses!)

It would probably come as a great surprise to many TV producers to discover that some people find it offensive.

AllenS said...

"Oh my God" doesn't offend me. I also don't think that it is taking the Lord's name in vain.

traditionalguy said...

So did he take the Dick's name in vain? That shows a hostility towards Obama...it is almost a choke hold. The Dick is awesome!

Marshal said...

"Am I the only one who takes more offense at the blurted phrase "Oh my God""

Yes.

cubanbob said...

Saying Obama is a dick is nothing more than saying the sun is hot. Its just pointing out the obvious.

MadisonMan said...

What's the big deal?

Lincolntf said...

' @mlcalderone by DanFosterNRO
MSNBC, in statement, says Mark Halperin will be "suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst."

From Twitter.

Irene said...

He must have been aware that saying it would be controversial because he asked about the seven-second delay before he uttered "a dick."

He thought about it before he said it, and he knew it would cause a sputter. That tells me he should be able to explain why he did it.

Sixty Grit said...

He will be suspended by his what? Oh, never mind...

Scott M said...

He must have been aware that saying it would be controversial because he asked about the seven-second delay before he uttered "a dick."

From the story, there was a newish person in the booth with the responsibility for the delay and didn't know how it worked when push came to shove.

Garry said...

Its rather odd. I am far more offended at the use of the Lord's name in vain than I am at the use of other profanities (scatological, sexual, etc). I chock those up to a lack of imagination. Hearing the Lord's name in vain actually makes me wince.

rhhardin said...

Dick is actually German for thick, as in dickhead.

Obama being a dick would be pretend stupidity to get lies out as talking points.

Obama being a prick, by contrast, would be mostly malevolent.

bagoh20 said...

"explain things as accessible to him as his own mind?"

I'm going to the beach this Friday and get one of those pot doctors to give me a weed prescription, get some "medicine" and ponder this question for the entire weekend. I'll get back to ya after my "treatment".

Fred4Pres said...

This was not some right wing pundit who called Obama a dick, so the left will pretend it did not happen.

What is interesting is Halperin has a reason he said it. And I supect there are many others who voted for Obama who think this too.

rhhardin said...

Lord's name in vain is fine with me.

I don't see the reason to avoid it originally, in fact.

Imus has stopped using the Lord's name in vain, but he's turned into an senile old queen.

Mark O said...

Slow news day? What about Obama forgetting the age of his daughter? Intellectual stammer gone wild? Did it make NBC news?

Not only is he just not that smart, he's stupid.

Sheepman said...

I'm trying to guess whether that segment is also disturbed by "Oh my God" the way I am. I really don't understand how anyone who believes in God (or has respect for people around them who believe in God) can say use "God" as part of a casual exclamation.

Is there some subtle irony here that eludes me? If not, god knows why this would bother you.

Matthew said...

I guess this dick left a bad taste in Halperin's mouth.

EDH said...

If a person says "Oh my God," it's their god, not yours, and you have no right to be offended, unless there's some basis to believe the speaker is your co-religionist.

purplepenquin said...

You're whining about people say "G-d" while saying it yourself?

Lawyer, heal thyself...

Roger Sweeny said...

Maybe I've been anesthetized by the very very common use of the abbreviation OMG, but it didn't bother me.

gerry said...

It's not significant, but my dick has taken offense at it.

Leland said...

Why is he editor-in-large at Time if he can't explain things as accessible to him as his own mind?

Did you see that Time's editorial on the US Constitution written by the Time's editor-in-chief? Really low bar for advancement at that magazine.

The Drill SGT said...

Yeah, it's a coursening of our political speach, and since it was applied to O'bama, who if you will recall is black, and that makes it racist, etc etc.

Look O'bama is an idiot, his policies are dangerous, but I'd prefer that we dont call President's dicks or hitlers on TV.

As for the President calling out the GOP for pushing granny off the cliff, or doctors for cutting off good legs, well that's just normal political discourse now that we've changed the tone in Washington for the better...

Fred4Pres said...

I do not consider "Oh my God" taking the Lord's name in vain.

If you want to hear the Lord's name taken in vain, go visit a golf course.

Fred4Pres said...

Matthew, that was funny. Nice.

Lincolntf said...

Both "OMG" and "dick" are absolutely tame compared to the years of vicious attacks on GOP'ers as "war criminals", "child murderers", "segregationists", etc.
Stupid story.

William said...

The one true dick is Weiner. Thou shalt have no other dicks before you.

Phy said...

Hi, Ann,
No, you're not the only one. Mike Duran (a very interesting guy, a former minister, a construction worker, now a novelist) mused on this a day or two ago:
http://mikeduran.com/?p=13305

Furthermore, if the real issue is not using the word “God” carelessly, then commonly accepted sayings like “God bless you” and “oh my God” are equally as sinful. I mean, do we really mean to invoke God’s blessings on someone who sneezes? Do unbelievers have the ability to summon such a blessing? Or is it just a stupid, yet well-intentioned, cultural idiom? Saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes can be as “vain” and meaningless as saying “God damn you” when someone doesn’t.

gerry said...

Mithradamnit anyway!

E.M. Davis said...

Obama is more of a prick than dick, and yes, there's a difference.

KenK said...

Are you guys kiddin' me? Sheesh.

traditionalguy said...

Saying "Oh my God" is not using the Lord's name in vain. There are all kinds of gods out there. Saying Jesus's name is what offends people...not the Christian people, but neo-pagans who fear its power. Using Jesus's name in sincere faith is seen as cheating, and therefore a rude thing to say.

Matthew said...

You're welcome, Fed.

rhhardin said...

The Lord's name originally was Bavel (Babel). That was the point of the story of Babel. It could not be translated.

It also meant, confusedly, confusion.

YHWH disperses them from here over the face of all the earth.
They cease to build the city.
Over which he proclaims his name, Bavel, Confusion,
for there, YHWH confounds the lip of all the earth,
and from there YHWH disperses them over the face of all the earth.

(Chouraqui translation)

The translator resorts to apposition, capitalization, paraphrase.

The prohibition of using the Lord's name might originally have meant an impossibility, a fact of language in general.

At least that way it would be an insight.

DrBerkeley said...

Both comments are uncivil.

t-man said...

The phone book as far more entries for Jesus than God. If you name your son Jesus, can you take his name in vain?

Matthew said...

I used to worship Thor, but here in New York it's gotten increasingly difficult to find either goats or virgins for regular sacrifice.

Marilee said...

So now it's being reported that he has been suspended from MSNBC for an undetermined amount of time.
But calling conservatives teabaggers is apparently acceptable.

t-man said...

Also, the prohibition on taking the Lord's name in vain pre-dated Jesus's appearance.

rdkraus said...

But calling people a dick. It's rude, but actual dicks aren't able to take offense, and even if they were, they wouldn't determine your fate in the afterlife.

Hey, speak for your own dick. My dick is pretty sensitive.

Hagar said...

These people consider Obama to be a front for their progressive movement rather than a leader in his own right; they possibly respect him less than the conservatives do.
Halperin said he he thought Obama was a "dick" at that press conference, because that is what he thought, and he thought he was among friends on "Morning, Joe" and could rely on the expression being cut out of the broadcast.

pduggie said...

"I really don't understand how anyone who believes in God (or has respect for people around them who believe in God) can say use "God" as part of a casual exclamation."


You get used to hearing it, then saying it, and you never have parents or other authorities crack down on you for doing so.

I agree with the seriousness of it.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed Crypto Jew)


Right no one is to stone ANYONE, until I blow this whistle! No matter WHO says “Jehovah!”

Roger J. said...

Not a fan of Mr Obama, but he also holds an institutional position as President--we can debate whether he is or is not a good president, but the institutional position should not be denigrated (imo, of course)

WV: twast---no comment

pduggie said...

@rhhardin Chouraqui's translation is pretty idosyncratic, and doesn't seem to make much sense in context.

Robert Alter or Everett Fox are probably lots closer to the mark. Or king Jimmy

Matthew said...

I'm of the mind, Roger, that perhaps for the first time ever, Halperin was at least telling the truth as he saw it.

Criticism, often visceral criticism, comes with the job of being President of the United States.

Halperin just crossed a line and used a word which (thankfully) still offends some segment of America (meaning there is still hope), but he probably spoke the true contents of his conscience without having to resort to doubletalk or symbolism.

Which is still a first, perhaps, for an American Libtard.

G Joubert said...

Halperin is looking to raise his profile. Maybe a gig at FOX News.

Both Halperin's statement and the sinful excited utterance are just more yardsticks showing how much the culture has degraded.

BI LIKE ME said...

interesting blog...

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

Matthew--most certainly agree that it is difficult to separate between the office holder and the office--and as I read your remark, I think you precisely on target.

Oligonicella said...

Oh my god, settle down. You get upset about the most common things.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed Crypto Jew)


Not a fan of Mr Obama, but he also holds an institutional position as President--we can debate whether he is or is not a good president, but the institutional position should not be denigrated (imo, of course)



Well Roger, Halperin didn’t say the OFFICE of the President is a D!ck, but rather that OBAMA was a D!ck…..he didn’t denigrate the office, but he office HOLDER…and unless my mind plays tricks there is no “crime” of Lesse majeste so who cares…and unless you can show a long-running Internet “concern” for denigration of the Office of POTUS, I’d say you are well over eight years to late in your “concern.”

FedkaTheConvict said...

Why did Halperin apologize? Is truth no longer a defense?

Roger J. said...

And Joe: I take your point. OK: so my comment was stupid. First mistake I have made since 1947 :)

X said...

he had the play, he made the call.

Scott M said...

Right no one is to stone ANYONE, until I blow this whistle! No matter WHO says “Jehovah!”

"Are there any women here today?"

etbass said...

Professor, thanks for the stand on taking the Lord's name in vain. You are right on!

John said...

I'm pretty sure the term "dickhead" didn't come from the German "dick(e)," but rather as a reference to the penis. Of course, I could be wrong, or it could even be a case of convergent linguistic evolution.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I haven't watched the video yet but was Sourpuss Brezhinski on set and did she implode?

master cylinder said...

It's that liberal media-so in the tank for Obama.
Disgusting.

Real American said...

In Halperin's defense, Obama was being a bit testi.

Ann Althouse said...

"What about Obama forgetting the age of his daughter?"

That's bullshit on the level of saying Bachmann praised the spirit of John Wayne Gacy.

When you're close to your next birthday, rounding off to the higher age is perfectly normal and correct. I have sons with birthdays in March and June, and once the March one goes up to the next year, I usually move the June one up too, because they are 2 years apart. I'm not forgetting anything, I'm just rounding and simplifying.

Calling Obama dumb over that undermines your credibility.

John said...

And, as a side note, I also avoid using "God" in phrases like "OMG" and so forth. To me, the worst curse is to say G-- D-mn this or that... that's calling eternal damnation upon someone or something, which is (in my mind) far worse than cursing based upon simple scatological words or reproductive organs.

Matthew said...

Thanks, Roger.

phx said...

I'm getting the sense Althouse likes being personally offended.

Phil 3:14 said...

Fortunately, he said it on MSNBC, so nobody saw it.

And on "Morning Joe" so that further diminished the audience. And if not for the controversy whores it would have gone completely unnoticed. (a la "tree falling in the forest")

(PS Is Mark Halperin a vulcan? He seems incapable of expressing emotion.)

Oligonicella said...

You would be comfortable in River City.

"Ye gods!"

"You watch your language, young lady!"

Mumbles "Ye gods."


Pick a little more.

Matthew said...

Mika did the 'Oh MY Gosh! I'm so embarassed" giddy schoolgirl routine,like she'd never heard that word before.

I'm wondering how she got that job had she not been previously acquainted with it.

(and yes,that's sarcasm).

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed Crypto Jew)


"Are there any women here today?"



Falsetto No…Uuuum

Deeper u’ummm NO

Goddess of the Classroom said...

"I swear to God" and "Goddammit" are examples of taking the Lord's name in vain and are literally profane. Exclaiming, "Oh, my God" is calling on the Lord to witness something and is actually a kind of a prayer. Just saying "God" as in "God, it's hot" is an ellipsis for one or the other.

Calling someone a "dick" or using the traditional four-letter words or other insults related to bodily functions is vulgarity and reveals more about the immature vocabulary and critical thinking skills of the speaker than of his or her subject. Such a speaker does not belong in broadcasting.

ndspinelli said...

Lighten up, professor.

Matthew said...

So, Goddess, if I read you correctly, you would be all in favor of removing the N-word from Tom Sawyer, and "shyte" from Shakespeare?

gerry said...

Monty Python stoning

AllenS said...

Sure. Everyone knows exactly what obama was trying to say when he mentioned that he had been in all 57 states with one or two to go. One thing about obama, he sure knows his numbers.

rhhardin said...

@pduggi Chouraqui translates word for word, as Cicero says should not be done, but I think it does better.

Lem said...

Is it possible Halperin said that to cause sympathy for the president?

XWL said...

Things you could have said about Obama's performance yesterday:

He was (typically) prickly.
He was (undeservedly) cocky.
He made an ass (the braying kind) of himself.

Yep, dick sounds about right, I guess telling the truth on MSNBC isn't LEANING FORWARD enough...

The Godfather said...

Quoting an Irish-American pol of the old school:

"He's a dick! No, I lie. He's not a dick, because a dick is a part of a man, and he's no part of a man."

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed Crypto Jew)


gerry said...
Monty Python stoning



Dood/Doodette the First Rule of Monty Python Quote Club is that we don’t talk about the Monty Python Quote Club…..

Lincolntf said...

As I understand it, saying "God Bless You" after a sneeze evolved from a (pagan?) belief that sneezing allowed bad spirits into one's body. The "God Bless you" was meant to protect the sneezer.
The "Oh My God" exclamation doesn't really bother me after years of listening to Priests, Brothers, etc. use it (though it probably is a breach of a strict interpretation of the 7th Commandment).
One case in which I would believe the speaker to be truly offensive, and not much of a person at all, is if they were to "swear to God" over a lie. That's just plain bad.

rhhardin said...

"I'm 68 but read at a 70 year old level" - Imus

Robert said...

I, too, am sorry that Obama is a dick.

Mwalimu Daudi said...

Well - at least Halperin did not call Obama a "bitch". Garage and pb&j would go ballistic.

XWL said...

Also, the presidency should always be respected, but each individual office holder should be no more or less respected than any other shoveller of shit.

rhhardin said...

Using God's reproductive organs in vain would maximize pearl-clutching.

The Crack Emcee said...

I want him to explain why he did it. Why is he editor-in-large at Time if he can't explain things as accessible to him as his own mind?

Ahh, come on - as often as I ask some variation of that question - why is it more important now because YOU ask it?

Here's a question:

How many layers of elites are there - you know, those people whose opinions about what's important are more credible than the rest of ours? Me and NewAge? Eh - not important unless you blog on it. ("Crack bait!") Glen Reynolds and robotics? DAMN! And you a men in shorts - because Glen likes you? Let it be!

Really, how many layers before MY asking what brain-dead journalists are thinking - and how they stay employed - has the same credibility as the rest of you Americans?

gerry said...

Dood/Doodette the First Rule of Monty Python Quote Club is that we don’t talk about the Monty Python Quote Club…..

Oh my Zoroaster! I'll be more careful in the future. ;)

Carol_Herman said...

All words are okay. When my son was young I said he was free to say "fuck" whenever it pleased him. But I would ask him what got him so angry?

Dick's about the same.

What got Halperin so angry? Was he once a fan? Is he angry watching power leached out of being an elite?

Did he confuse "Barry" with "Dick?"

It's bad news for obama if people get criticized for pointing out to his failures.

What happened to Chris Wallace when he asked Michele Bachmann if she was a flake? (Okay. He said he was sorry.)

So, here we have adults who back off from their criticism by saying "sorry."

At least we have the Internet. I didn't have to watch MSNBC! I don't ever watch TV.

But I can see TV is as stupid as ever. See "Dick." See "Boobs."

It's too funny when you think what people are saying about obama behind the scenes.

His numbers have shot so far down into the toilet ... he's unable to get the cash he needs ... to pay the fools who run TV stations. And, the advertisers who supply the commercials ... that are best ignored when seen, anyway

X said...

somehow this post is making me think of Dick Enberg and his catchphrase "oh my!".

Drew said...

Why he said it is because that's what he thinks. His claim that he "can't explain" why he did it his really just his excuse and hope that he'll still get invited to all the cool parties.


Hagar said . . .
These people consider Obama to be a front for their progressive movement rather than a leader in his own right; they possibly respect him less than the conservatives do.

And I think that's spot-on.

Kirk Parker said...

rhhardin,

"Chouraqui translates word for word"

In the business we call that a "gloss", not a "translation".

AllenS said...

I am the only person on this blog who has had to take the stand, raise my right hand and place my left hand on a Bible and listen to the prosecutor say:

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

OFFENSIVE!

Oligonicella said...

Goddess of the Classroom --

Calling someone a "dick" or using the traditional four-letter words or other insults related to bodily functions is vulgarity and reveals more about the immature vocabulary and critical thinking skills of the speaker than of his or her subject.

I fart in your general direction.

JAL said...

Because he is?

I am sure I am repeating someone above.

(And note, I didn't say it.)

Scott M said...

somehow this post is making me think of Dick Enberg and his catchphrase "oh my!"

I think George Takei has effectively co-opted that phrase.

Goddess of the Classroom said...

Oligonicella...

A pox upon thee!

Good thing we're not in broadcasting...

Oligonicella said...

AllenS --

"I am the only person ..."

Not only, but I don't have to. The swearing to tell the truth part, yes.

phx said...

Remember it's not "Oh my God!" It's "Good my complexion!"
GMC

Scott M said...

Good thing we're not in broadcasting...

"Broads don't belong in broadcasting"

UHF

edutcher said...

I can understand Joe reacting that way.

How can anyone say something like that about "sort of God".

It's practically sacrilegious.

X said...

when joe buck is calling World Series games, troy aikman is very careful on local radio to refer to his temporary broadcast partner as Richard Stockton.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Needs an "Obama is like Nixon" tag.

Oligonicella said...

Goddess of the Classroom --

"Good thing we're not in broadcasting..."

I was silly in words, but not in meaning. Are you saying comedy broadcasts are not broadcasting?

JAL said...

Why is he editor-in-large at Time if he can't explain things as accessible to him as his own mind?

I demur.

Professor, many people (actually most people) find that their mind is really not as accessible as they or others think.

As one who both has a mind and has worked with other peoples' minds for several years our minds are almost an alien frontier.

Ann Althouse said...

"You're whining about people say "G-d" while saying it yourself?"

Learn the difference between using a word and referring to a word. If I say "fuck you," it's different from my saying "That man over there just said 'fuck you.'" And, by the way, fuck you!

Count the uses and references in the preceding paragraph.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Obama is a dick!

OMG....did I say that outloud?"

So now I can offend everyone.....and in so few words.

:-D

JAL said...

' @mlcalderone by DanFosterNRO
MSNBC, in statement, says Mark Halperin will be "suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst."


So. Free speech?

Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are excoriated, often in sexual terms, on national TV and the left snickers at the great inside joke.

I prefer to respect the office, even if I don't the man, but the remark is really not appropriate.

But since my standards are so narrow, rigid and close minded as a conservative, they should be overlooked by the MSM, so I guess this is fine.

phx said...

Professor, many people (actually most people) find that their mind is really not as accessible as they or others think.

As one who both has a mind and has worked with other peoples' minds for several years our minds are almost an alien frontier.


I think JAL brings up a good point. And I bet more Althouse commentators believe they have perfect access to their minds, thank you, than HuffPo readers.

I think certainty in having access to your mind or motivations is a characteristic stronger in conservatives than in liberals.

Andy R. said...

Does Althouse believe in God? [I'm asking of Althouse, or anyone that might know the answer?]

garage mahal said...

The real victims here are, of course, conservatives.

Leland said...

When you're close to your next birthday, rounding off to the higher age is perfectly normal and correct. I have sons with birthdays in March and June, and once the March one goes up to the next year, I usually move the June one up too, because they are 2 years apart.

Don't disagree, but I got twins... born in January... life is way easier.

Methadras said...

Vain vs. Profane. You choose.

TMink said...

I am getting really tired of the bullshit animosity in our politics. I cannot stand the President's policies, but he is our President. He was elected fairly and in that way deserves the office. Calling him a dick or harping on his flubs just distracts from the real problems we face as a country. A lot of right thinking conservatives are really bad about this and I think they should be better than that.

Trey

Richard Dolan said...

"I want him to explain why he did it."

That's a more interesting (OK, marginally interesting) question than an inquiry into the relative offensiveness of two pretty tame locutions -- OMG compared with 'dick'. And the explanation for why Halperin characterized O that way is simply that that's how Halperin perceived what he was describing.

His apology is just a statement that, as a journalist, he should have masked his perception in anodyne non-judgmental terms rather than offering plain speaking. Perhaps he should have - that would be a more interesting question, too.

A. Shmendrik said...

I've always thought that the tough part of being Mark Helprin would be being confused with this knucklehead Mark Halperin.

phx said...

While I'm speculating, I suspect any male who calls another male a dick as a term of disparagement has latent issues problem with their sexual identity, and possibly their libido.

rhhardin said...

Babel's point is that the God is also a common noun. There is no such thing as a strictly proper noun.

Words get uses on their own.

In a foreign language you cannot find your feet because you don't know where the words have gone, what uses they've taken up.

An effect that persists in your own langauge.

The movement of ethics is the restatement, saying again what has been badly put or heard.

In violation of the principle of the tower to the heavens.

Goddess of the Classroom said...

Oligonicella

I supposed I take "broadcasting" to refer to "information" as opposed to entertainment.

A further point: vulgarity and profanity directed at an individual are insulting. Insults may be comic, but they're not appropriate to logical argument.

Shanna said...

“Right no one is to stone ANYONE, until I blow this whistle! No matter WHO says “Jehovah!”

*throws rocks*

To me, the worst curse is to say G-- D-mn this or that... that's calling eternal damnation upon someone or something, which is (in my mind) far worse than cursing based upon simple scatological words or reproductive organs.

I consider that quite serious as well. I also cringe at “Jesus Christ” although it is used much more often than it used to be so I am getting somewhat immune. “Oh my god” doesn’t bother me though. It’s such a neutral sort of phrase. It really doesn’t mean anything at all.

Browndog said...

Halperin was dead wrong-

"I thought he was a dick yesterday."

-implies Obama is NOT a dick, but was one yesterday.

-If you're a dick, you're a dick. Everyday.

(Did he mean act like a dick, sound like a dick, look like a dick?)

...I guess we'll never know.

craig said...

How is Halperin's calling Obama a "dick" different than Bill Maher's calling Sarah Palin a "twat"? And if the one warrants an apology, why not the other?

Drew said...

I've always thought that the tough part of being Mark Helprin would be being confused with this knucklehead Mark Halperin.

Yes. As a fan of Helprin, I've had to make it very clear who I'm talking about when I recommend his books.


By the way, Halperin was just "suspended indefinitely" from MSNBC for his comment. See, you can be Keith Olbermann and make similar comments about Republicans for years and years. But you make one "dick" comment about Obama, and they cut you loose.

Chip S. said...

I had Paul Z's reaction. With Bruce Ackerman calling the prez "lawless" for ignoring the War Powers Act, with the administration floating a trial balloon about ignoring the debt ceiling, and after a press conference in which Obama blamed everyone in the country except himself for his failed economic policies, Halperin could quite credibly have claimed that he was only trying to say, "What a Dick Nixon."

Mick said...

Maybe he had a moment of lucidity?

Drew said...

http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2011/06/msnbc-suspends.php


Dang-it, how do you make a live link in this thing. What are the HTML tags?

rhhardin said...

Rush approx: Halperin calls Obama a dick and the stock market rises 145 points. He said what everybody thought.

Bob Blah Blog said...

There are no actual gods to take offense either

Carol_Herman said...

"Afterlife?" You mean after your political career is over; and, europe is in the toilet. So there are no nobel prizes worth shit?

Yesterday, a wonderful post at Glenn Reynolsd, lead to a piece by "Brookside" ... where the phenomenal failure, ahead, for the left ... means they'll be gone.

But it's only a matter of time.

And, it seems, close to the exit it is, we will not see the liberals going softly into "that goodnight."

No. They're going to do a SUPERNOVA OF FAILURE ... to light up the whole night sky. And, all of the firmament. They're trying to burn everything in their wake.

It's nuclear. And, we don't have STUXNET to stop them.

Would it have been better if they just did clown suits? So we could laugh?

gerry said...

Learn the difference between using a word and referring to a word. If I say "fuck you," it's different from my saying "That man over there just said 'fuck you.'" And, by the way, fuck you!

Woof. That even made my knuckles hurt. ;)

Ann Althouse said...

"Ahh, come on - as often as I ask some variation of that question - why is it more important now because YOU ask it?"

Because every time I ask a question, it should be understood as containing the implicit assertion that I think the question is important... and not only important but more important than a similar question frequently asked by the Crack Emcee.

Noted.

Lem said...

I can say with great certitude Obama is a dick!

rhhardin said...

Dick isn't an insult. It's the right word.

My take would be it means feigning stupidity so as to tell lies as talking points.

Dick (thick) is short for dickhead, thick-headed.

Obama was feigning that.

These awful words are not used randomly.

Ann Althouse said...

"How many layers of elites are there - you know, those people whose opinions about what's important are more credible than the rest of ours? Me and NewAge? Eh - not important unless you blog on it. ("Crack bait!") Glen Reynolds and robotics? DAMN! And you a men in shorts - because Glen likes you? Let it be! "

He likes me because I spell his name right.

Oligonicella said...

phx --

While I'm speculating, I suspect any male who calls another male a dick as a term of disparagement has latent issues problem with their sexual identity, and possibly their libido.

Unless maybe the guy was acting like a dick.


Goddess of the Classroom --

I supposed I take "broadcasting" to refer to "information" as opposed to entertainment.

You should get used to people misunderstanding the breadth of your stance then.

A further...

It happened on a popular morning show. Please point me to the rules governing popular morning shows.

Lem said...

Noted.

Usually that's 'duly noted'.

rhhardin said...

Don't count on use and mention.

It depends on a picture of language that's only a picture.

gerry said...

Oligonicella, how's the preying going today?

CachorroQuente said...

Jesus fucking Christ on a pogo stick, people get offended over the silliest of things.

All those who get offended when someone takes the God damned 'name' of your perverse deity in vain: we'll stop doing that when you believers stop trying to cram your God up our asses one God damned silent prayer at a time.

I believe that Scarborough claims to be a practicing Catholic and I take him at his word. My wag is that he is at least as serious about his faith in his religion as Althouse is about hers.

Particularly considering she has implied that her understanding of her God leads her to believe that uttering the phrase, "Oh, my God," is likely to induce God to condemn one to eternal perdition. That's a pretty trivial understanding of Christianity.

Matthew said...

Carol, I believe it would be the absolute worst thing evah if the political left in this country imploded in the way you seem to be describing.

Not because I agree with them (I most certainly do not), but because a tyranny of the right is just as bad as one of the left.

If you doubt this, spend some time over at FreeRepublic.

There are some (very few) thoughtful leftists remaining, and it would be shame to see them go.I would rather asceribe to the old Rush Limbaugh belief that at the very least SOME lefties should remain, if only to serve as examples of what NOT TO DO.

Rather than watch the entire Left go the way of the dodo, I'd rather just see certain LEFTIES and their ideas tossed onto the dyngheap of history.

That left-versus-right struggle needs to continue if only for the sake that should either party ever had the power and ability to enact their complete agendas, we'd have open and bloody revolution in the streets.

Oligonicella said...

gerry --

Oligonicella, how's the preying going today?

Don't rear any more. On to other things.

Ann Althouse said...

"Does Althouse believe in God? [I'm asking of Althouse, or anyone that might know the answer?]"

How impressed will you be at my writing skill if you realize that after 7 1/2 years of blogging, frequently about religion, that I have not given you the material to answer that question?

Chip S. said...

Top entry in the category, "Answers to unlikely questions from reporters":

I am not a dick.

Nitpicker said...

Halperin's dad worked for Nixon and you'd have to have seriously not been paying attention to think this Republican gasbag exhibits "overt bias in favor of Democrats."

CachorroQuente said...


How impressed will you be at my writing skill if you realize that after 7 1/2 years of blogging, frequently about religion, that I have not given you the material to answer that question?


But, you have.

vza said...

Yes, he probably reverted to using language he uses off the record with his colleagues. He became a bit too laid back on the job. Over analyzing something so unimportant! Jeez.

phx said...

Am I the only one who takes more offense at the blurted phrase "Oh my God" ...? I think insulting the President is rough political discourse, but saying "Oh my God" is taking the Lord's name in vain.

How impressed will you be at my writing skill...?


Who is this? Who took Althouse away?

CachorroQuente said...

To be explicit: Althouse is clearly a believer and has made that quite obvious over the years.

Oligonicella said...

"(or has respect for people around them who believe in God)"

Oh, and that was actually the part I found most egregious. That I should bow to some observance of some other person simply because they're around me.

I'm required to mind read everyone I'm near? Obviously not possible, so the only other option is to never utter the blaspheme.

This implies that the other's sensibilities towards offense are more important than mine. I reject that.

Joe said...

Wow, fake outrage. What's next?

Loren Ibsen said...

"O, my god" should be a mandatory truth in advertising disclosure at MSNBC.

WV: motryl
"for radical pain relief! Coming soon to health care near you!"

As in. "take two Motryl for cancer pain, then please go off to die quietly."

Matt said...

My understanding is that it is a poorly translated commandment. (I think Dennis Prager is where I heard this.) The commandment actually refers to doing misdeeds in God’s name not casual cursing. This just makes sense. Why would God have a commandment against using his name while cursing but NOT have a commandment against using his name as a means to mistreat other people? To conclude that “taking the Lord’s name in vain” equates to “Oh my God!” makes the scripture itself appear nonsensical.

Martha said...

Calling Sarah PALIN a twat is more offensive than calling Obama a dick. Calling anyone except Andrew Sullivan a TEABAGGER is also more offensive than calling Obama a dick.

BUT comparing the work ethic of Congress to two pre-teen
girls (Malia will not be 13 until July 4).........PRICELESS.

Chip S. said...

@Nitpicker: Yes, nothing says "Republican hack" to me quite like the position "Senior Advisor for the Open Society Institute," which is the job currently held by Old Man Halperin, whom Nixon trusted so much that he had his phone tapped.

I presume that your screen name is meant ironically.

Saul said...

I think Halperin nailed it on the head, because Obama is a dick, that's in large part why he is ineffective. He is aloof and doesn't even know the age of one of his daughters. I went to high school with Mark's brother, who works for the AP. I doubt that Mark is personally that liberal, but is most likely more of a pragmatic Democrat that you find in the Maryland suburbs. I also don't think OMG is a BFD. And I can't believe Ann thinks it is either, other than pandering to the religious right to increase traffic to her blog.

Andy R. said...

How impressed will you be at my writing skill if you realize that after 7 1/2 years of blogging, frequently about religion, that I have not given you the material to answer that question?

I can't tell if you are being sarcastic and calling me lazy for not going through your archives to find the answer or if you really are intentionally mysterious about these things.

That you are a well-educated law professor would lead me to assume that you are an atheist, but that makes it odd that you are speaking for others in invoking offendedness on their behalf over the Lord's name.

phx said...

Nobody is really talking about why Halperin called Obama a dick. Did he ever explain that?

NYTNewYorker said...

Halperin gets suspended for saying out loud what the rest of the country, no, the rest of the world is thinking and worse.

GOOD! One less liberal on the air.

The left is eating its own and the election is still light years away, delicious.

Browndog said...

What?

All these comments and no Jeff Spicoli/Mr. Hand references?

Slow Times at Althouse High....

Drew said...

You gotta know that Obama will find a way to retaliate, because that's just the sort of dick he is.

Chip S. said...

Nobody is really talking about why Halperin called Obama a dick. Did he ever explain that?

What's to explain? It was the definitive Kinsley gaffe.

Lincolntf said...

"Nobody is really talking about why Halperin called Obama a dick. Did he ever explain that?"

He explains the "dickishness" quite succinctly. Obama took an opportunity to show leadership (or to have a friggin' original thought for once in his life) and turned it into a whiny bitch session that any college sophomore could have compiled... "Rich people are greedy, waah, waah, waah, Congress won't help me, waah, waah, waah...".
I wouldn't have called him a dick, I'd have called him a pussy.

ken in sc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ken in sc said...

I agree with Goddess of the Classroom. It's often overlooked that there is a difference between profanity, vulgarity, and obscenity. Profanity involves a profane, non-sacred, reference to the deity, or cursing the soul of another person. In that way, OMG can be thought of as profanity. Vulgarity is using common, unscientific words to describe certain body parts, bodily functions and products. Calling anyone a dick is a vulgarity. Obscenity is a branch of vulgarity related to improper or impossible sexual acts, as in go fuck yourself. All three can be offensive and are usually intended to be when used among strangers.

PackerBronco said...

The classic example of a gaffe: accidentally speaking the truth.

Darcy said...

People who voted for this dick must continue to be sheltered from the awful fact that he is, in fact, a dick.

I voted for the other dick.

TMink said...

CachorroQuente, I think your own spiritual concerns and conflicts far outweigh the problems caused by our little silent prayers.

But I AM praying for you, even if I am leaving your ass well enough alone.

Trey

Henry said...

I'm not offended by "Oh My God" on a religious level. On an aesthetic level it is the most pathetic of exclamations. It represents a failure of imagination.

If Joe Scarborough had exclaimed "Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket" that would have been even more offensive, I suppose, but much more satisfactory.

The Crack Emcee said...

He likes me because I spell his name right.

Yeah, but you also voted for Obama - damning us to irrationality and malaise - and he falls for quackery - enriching criminals and killers - so, if we're trying to fix the country, the whole thing's pretty skewed, no?

Mind you, I'm fucking with you today, Ann, I ain't mad at you. The shit's just pretty obvious today,...I wonder why, by checking the news, some things come into such focus?

traditionalguy said...

Words here are being given the power to classify others and reject the speakers of vulgar or improper words. That was GBS's entire My Fair Lady plot. Religious legalists do often latch onto a few easy to crucify outsiders with words such as an ignorant claim that saying God without a permission slip makes one liable to exclusion. That is total BS. If your religion is that dangerous a group, then I would get the hell out of it and find a safe group that is not eager to condemn people.

MarkG said...

"To be explicit: Althouse is clearly a believer and has made that quite obvious over the years."

Man, I've been reading Althouse since the 80s and I had no idea. I always assumed she was agnostic. I guess I'm just not tuned in to the Christian vibe.

AllenS said...

You should never get in trouble by saying: "Well, I'll be go to hell.”

That doesn't mean that you want God to send you to hell. But, what the hell?

Robert Cook said...

"...saying 'Oh my God' is taking the Lord's name in vain."

Uh, no.

"God" is a description of what He is--if you believe He is, (which I don't)--it is not His name. His name is Jehovah or Jahweh.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm having a hard time believing you are truly offended by Oh my God. That has to be about the most innocuous use outside of prayer you can get.

Robert Cook said...

I see "The Monster" beat me to the punch. That's what happens when you post a comment before scanning through the comments already posted.

AllenS said...

I also think that God has a sense of humor, and he wouldn't take offense at anyone saying "Oh My God."

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...His name. His name is Jehovah or Jahweh...."

What? No Allah?

Infidel.

E.M. Davis said...

Man, I've been reading Althouse since the 80s and I had no idea. I always assumed she was agnostic. I guess I'm just not tuned in to the Christian vibe.

Wouldn't a true liberal be offended on your (Christian) behalf? Even if the Professor is an agnostic.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...I also think that God has a sense of humor.."

Of course he does. He created liberals.

E.M. Davis said...

If Joe Scarborough had exclaimed "Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket" that would have been even more offensive, I suppose, but much more satisfactory.

You should hear me under my breath when my kids get me going. I'm quite the Yosemite Sam with the blasphemy.

Lamar63 said...

So when the Bryzinski (sp?) says "oh lordy" that is OK? Why is that not offensive?

Lem said...

A gaffe implies off the cuff..

Halperin did no speak off the cuff.

Scott M said...

Of course he does. He created liberals.

I was going to say the platypus, but the effect is the same, both physically and metaphorically.

garage mahal said...

Of course he does. He created liberals

Why of course. Jesus was a dirty hippie.

E.M. Davis said...

One of my favorite new sayings is:

Great January Jones!

Robert Cook said...

"These people consider Obama to be a front for their progressive movement...."

Oh my God! Anyone who sees Obama as a "front for their progressive movement" has got to be a really stupid dick!

David R. Graham said...

Brilliant post, thanks! "OMG" is not technically taking the Lord's Name in vain because neither of the phrase's three words is a/the Name of God. However, the manner of its use makes the phrase equivalent to taking the Lord's Name in vain, meaning trivializing It. So yes, your instincts in this matter are correct. Using the phrase violates the Commandment and sickens every clean heart and ear.

There are proper uses for the actual Name of God which include condemnatory, taunting, ridiculing, mocking and even scatological and familiar language. Prophetic literature of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is full of these. The justification for such usage of the Name of God lies in the commission of the Prophet, not in their initiative. During their lives, of course, auditors usually hear initiative rather than commission when prophets speak.

So, because Prophetic literature is full of hair-raising, modernly "unacceptable" language that includes the Name of God is not justification for just anyone to go out and do likewise. Prophetic speech using the Name of God in hair-raising terms is not trivial, and not because of the hair-raising aspect but because of the commission of the speech itself.

MarkG said...

Wouldn't a true liberal be offended on your (Christian) behalf? Even if the Professor is an agnostic.

I have no idea what this means. Nor why calling Obama a dick is a big deal, even for MSNBC. I'm painting the house today -- it could be the fumes.

AJ Lynch said...

The Morning Joe doucenozzles travel in elite Beltway circles where Prez Obama's attitude would more properly be called petulant. Heaven forbid though he should be called a dick.

Scott M said...

Why of course. Jesus was a dirty hippie

By modern standards, they were all smelly hippies.

Scott M said...

Oops...meant to add...that doesn't make Jesus a liberal. My father in law is sort-of-smelly hippie. He's about as libertarian as they come.

Robert Cook said...

"Nobody is really talking about why Halperin called Obama a dick. Did he ever explain that?"

Uh, because no one wants to be put in the position of having to explain publicly that it's because...Obama is a dick!

AllenS said...

garage mahal said...
Why of course. Jesus was a dirty hippie.

Jesus is God's kid. Kids sometime need time to find themselves.

I would imagine there was a time when Jesus was at someone's house, when there was a knock on the door, and the owner of the house said these words: "Jesus, it's your dad".

You know, if it was late on a weeknight.

deborah said...

What was the semi-recent falderol that was similar? I think it was on Scarborough also...

There's a coarsening, of sorts, going on that is hastened by the 24/7 cycle, the internet, and everyone being too cool for school. But it's perfectly natural. What's the over/under for when fuck becomes an acceptable exclamation for a kindergartener to utter?

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