October 20, 2012

Michelle Obama does not know how to kiss up to people in Wisconsin.

Yesterday in Racine, she began with: "For the next 16 days, coming here to Racine is the closest thing I'm going to get to being at home in Chicago, so you know I'm happy."

People in Wisconsin tend to exhibit antagonism toward Illinois, and I don't think they enjoy hearing that what's nice about Wisconsin is that it's close to Chicago. There's a word for it: FIB.

By the way, what is Michelle wearing? It looks like something designed by Dmitry of "Project Runway."

IN THE COMMENTS: chickelit said:
She pronounced "Racine" as "RAY-seen." I grew up pronouncing it "RUH-seen"
I said:
Remember when John Kerry came to Wisconsin and mispronounced "brat."
From a Straight Dope forum on the topic of how to say "Racine":
Wisconsinite born and raised; I pronounce it "Ruh-seen." My Chicago-suburban born-and-raised husband, who spent a lot of time in Wisconsin, calls it "Ray-seen."
This guide to Wisconsin pronunciation has "Ruh-seen." on the audio but also: "Locals argue between RAY-seen and ruh-SEEN." Miscellaneous Racine information:
In 1887, malted milk was invented by William Horlick in Racine. The garbage disposal was invented in 1927 by architect John Hammes of Racine.
Also at the Straight Dope forum: "I thought this was the playwright Racine, so I voted the second..." The French influence! Well, Racine was, in fact, settled by the French:
On October 10, 1699, a fleet of eight canoes bearing a party of French explorers entered the mouth of Root River. These were the first Europeans known to visit what is now Racine County. Led by Jonathan Paradise, they founded a trading post in the area that eventually became a small settlement on Lake Michigan near where the Root River empties into Lake Michigan. "Racine" is French for "root."
Both of the argued-for pronunciations are wrong if you want to go with the French. The first syllable "a" should be more like the "a" in "cat" (and not "brat"!).

AND: Commenter Mr. D said:
She said "Ray-seen" because that's how Chicagoans pronounce the name of Racine Avenue in Chicago. They used to call the Chicago Cardinals football team the Ray-seen Cardinals because their field was on Racine Avenue.
Ah-ha!

112 comments:

cubanbob said...

Let's grant her her wish on election day and send them them back to Chicago. Somehow I suspect they will take a long detour via Hawaii. Goodbye and good ridance and don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

The Drill SGT said...

Did she say she was proud of the GB Vikings?

Erika said...

FIB is a lot less catchy than Massholes.

elkh1 said...

"the closest thing I'm going to get to being at home in Chicago, so you know I'm happy."

Good that she is happy in Chicago. Only 16 more days, she can stay there 24/7.

madAsHell said...

She's pissed because Wisconsin isn't Spain, and this ain't no Rainbow Tour!!

chickelit said...

She pronounced "Racine" as "RAY-seen." I grew up pronouncing it "RUH-seen"

Bubblers/drinking fountain?

Pop/soda?

discuss

The Drill SGT said...

What's with all these Dem's standing with backdrops of all women and/or minorities?

They at war with white men? or is it just that the white men are off working and these folks have time to spare?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


Thanks heavens we'll soon be rid of this clueless pampered woman.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We call them 'tourons' (moronic tourists) or just 'flatlanders'.

What an insult. I'm happy to be here because it is near where a really want to be so I guess I'll endure your little crappy town....for now anyway.

These people (Moochelle and Bambi) are so self absorbed that they have no idea how they appear to other people....and furthermore, I don't think they care.

AEH said...

The Rainbow Tour didn't go too well after Spain.

Titus said...

I love when people call her Mooch.

It's so degrading but I love it.

tits.

Titus said...

I am a Masshole.

There are Masshole bumper stickers here everywhere.

People are proud of being Masshole's.

tits.

BaltoHvar said...

SGT - I saw that too. It might be that the diversity is genuine.

But it also is not beyond the realm that spotters are dispatched and directed to find individuals to place there. Seems like an awkward exchange "...would you like to be seated behind her and be ON CAMERA!!?? Here is a Pass to claim your seat." Would the cynicism dawn on the mark? Further it looks like each one attended alone.

john sager said...

I love how Dem women are intimately part of the race and the countdown narrative.

Much prefer R women who are more generic wifey and sub rosa doing prez race stuff.

Just judgin'.

Curious George said...

Chickelit: I pronounce it ray seen also. I think that's what it is actually. Then again, I'm a Chicago transplant, although I've been here in WI for almost 20 years.

I'm not sure if Racine has the same IL animosity as the rest of the state, as it's a border town, but I find her comment idiotic. Why does "Being close" to Chicago make her happy? She's not in Chicago, and she isn't going to be. She might as well be in Bumblefuck.

Idiot.

Curious George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

I can't stand to watch the whole clip, so I don't know what the rest of her dress looks like.

However, I like that print. It is interesting. I would wear it.

:-D

Clyde said...

From what I've heard, their retirement home is being built in Hawaii, although that's still not far enough away from Washington for my liking. I'd much prefer some place like Auckland or Christchurch.

Titus said...

Why are Racine and Kenosha so gross?

They are by the water and could be fab but they are not and because of that I am sad.

I went to a gay bar in Kenosha called "94" because I believe that was the "interstate" it was on. The gay bar was on an interstate! That is not fab. Anyway the place was completely tragic. We are talking "bottom" of the barrel fags. The interior was all silver and they played tired music and they all smoked outside. And they were all completely trashed and proceeded to get into their cars and drive on the interstate back to their small town "apartments" in Elkhorn and Salem Wisconsin.

Just sad.

But I do enjoy slumming every once in awhile. I enjoy seeing the underbelly of this great country. And there were many huge bellies at that gay bar, okkkkkkkk?

tits.

Skipper said...

Chicagoans (Chicagoese?) view Milwaukee as their most northern suburb and Wisconsin as part of the Chicago park system.

Skipper said...

Chicagoans (Chicagoese?) view Milwaukee as their most northern suburb and Wisconsin as part of the Chicago park system.

Cedarford said...

Just not that popular a 1st Lady for a variety of reasons...outside the population of true-believing Obamaphiles.
And I suspect even less popular if Obama is reelected and the facade comes off the Mootch even further.
She has really sacrificed a lot of vacations and Celeb galas and exciting foreign trips in the last 1 1/2 years for appearances sake and she will be on B Obama like stink on shit to "make it up to her".

Then again, some of the facade will be off Barack Obama as well.

ricpic said...

I don't see any dreaded white men behind Her Assness in that video. It's like an oppressor-free zone.

Clyde said...

Although it's probably not very nice of me to wish them on the Kiwis...

Titus said...

Oh and the gay bar was right next to a Long John Silvers. Need I say any more?

sydney said...

What is it with those runway models' eyebrows? Were they born that way or did the designer make them pencil them in thickly? Very Neanderthalish.

edutcher said...

Well, it's not as bad as, "For the first time in my life...".

Between that and, "not optimal", you get the feeling Barry and Moochelle know it's over and they're just telling us what they really think?

Ann Althouse said...

"She pronounced "Racine" as "RAY-seen." I grew up pronouncing it "RUH-seen""

Remember when John Kerry came to Wisconsin and mispronounced "brat."

Titus said...

I also went to a gay bar in Dayton that was in a shopping mall and right next to a Mcdonalds. It was awful, but I loved it's awfulness.

You could wear a tag with a number on it and then if someone thought you were cute they would put your number on these huge television screens all over the place saying number 69 thinks you number 10 are cute. The television screens looked like some bingo card. It was hilarious.

tits.

ricpic said...

Get out of that glory hole now, Titus! There are limits to your slumminjg compulsion.

ricpic said...

slumminjg was for the hindu in you.

Titus said...

The worst gay bar I went to was Lewiston Maine though. It was right next to a bunch of houses and when you left the bar the guy in the second floor house would shoot a bb gun at you when you entered and exited the bar.

That was fun.

The fags actually bought umbrellas with them and there was an umbrella stand in the front of the bar and they even sold umbrellas.

Cedarford said...

Well, one other thing...the social welfare and union demands of the good people of Chicago are so great that they have bankrupted Chicago and nearly bankrupted the State of Illinois the Dem Machine currently controls.
When Michelle sees and remarks on Wisconsin as being so close to Chicago, and the people of Wisconsin not "building that" without Chicago helping create all the wealth and civilization there (same for the rest of the State of Illinois) - you can be sure she looks out on a crowd and sees a revenue source.
A lot of people in the Northern Suburb with extra money that could achieve better social justice if Wisconsin, as a nearby suburb of Chicago, sent the exess money direct to the City..you know, just for a little while on an emergency basis until some wise black leaders put Chicago back on its feet.

Mary Beth said...

Bubblers/drinking fountain?

Pop/soda?


Water fountain.

Coke. As in, "Do you want a Coke?"
"Sure."
"Okay, Sprite or Pepsi?"

AprilApple said...

With Michelle - It's often only about how she feels.

ALH said...

FIB, ha!!

Thought it might just be a term of endearment that people in my part of WI used for our southern neighbors.

harrogate said...

Hmmmmm. In League of their Own it was pronounced Ray-seen. That movie was the first time I became aware of the place. Interesting how pronunciations can be so fluid, and so wrong, and yet so commonly said.

AJ Lynch said...

Does anyone know if Michelle play basketball in high school or college ?

Mary Beth said...

The print of her dress looks African batik inspired.

Dad Bones said...

Maybe black people prefer to call it Ray-cine, at least the topless dancers from there I once knew.

cubanbob said...

Clyde said...
From what I've heard, their retirement home is being built in Hawaii, although that's still not far enough away from Washington for my liking. I'd much prefer some place like Auckland or Christchurch.

10/20/12 9:57 AM

Why not Nairobi? Far enough plus he has family there.

Leland said...

She really is socially awkward. From asking people to take their knucklehead friends to the polls, to finally being proud, and now this feeling of being happy because you don't want to be where you are but at least it is closer to home. Sometimes, I think she wishes can just be a wallflower and enjoy the trappings of a First Lady lifestyle without the social events.

As for hitting the campaign and stumping, I guess she's a positive in showing Presidential interest somewhere where the President can't be. Yet, with her personal enthusiasm for the job, I think it is almost a wash in terms of utility in getting out the vote for Obama.

Curious George said...

Ray ceen, ruh seen. Let's just call it by one of its nicknames, "rattown". Thats prounounce rat town.

Sorun said...

Arguing about how to pronounce stuff is how I imagine Wisconsiners pass the time during winter.

Peter said...

Racine? Named for the French playwright no doubt. (Is there a Corneille or Moliere, Wisconsin?)
A city immortalized in a limerick about medical technology:
A doctor who lived in Ruh-ceen
Invented a loving machine;
Concave and convex,
It could serve either sex,
Amusing itself in between.

PatCA said...

In "Mwakee" it was bubblers! Boy, was I teased when we moved.

Anne B. said...

My husband (lifelong Chicagoan) says Ray-seen, so that's how I learned to pronounce it when I got here.

The FIB made me chuckle. Husband just refers to "the Cheese Curtain" and his cousins who live north of it.

And Cubanbob said:

" From what I've heard, their retirement home is being built in Hawaii, although that's still not far enough away from Washington for my liking. I'd much prefer some place like Auckland or Christchurch."

I vote for Iqaluit, or maybe the Ross Ice Shelf.

Tom said...

There once was a man from Racine,
Who invented a fucking machine,
Concave or convex,
It would please either sex,
But, oh, what a bitch to keep clean.

exiledonmainst said...

Recall Kerry talking about "Lambert Field?"

In my experience, cheeseheads who speak dispargingly of FIB's usually mean visitors from Chicagoland.

It's a shame Michele didn't say "Go Bears!"

"Arguing about how to pronounce stuff is how I imagine Wisconsiners pass the time during winter."

No, we just drink a lot.

Tom said...

There once was a man from Racine,
Who invented a fucking machine,
Concave or convex,
It would please either sex,
But, oh, what a bitch to keep clean.

Mr. D said...

She said "Ray-seen" because that's how Chicagoans pronounce the name of Racine Avenue in Chicago. They used to call the Chicago Cardinals football team the Ray-seen Cardinals because their field was on Racine Avenue.

Of course, in Chicago they pronounce Goethe Street as "Go-EETH-ee."

bgates said...

Can't talk about Wisconsin place name pronunciation without mentioning this.

Algonquin for, "the good land".

chickelit said...

@Althouse: Thanks for front paging that!

I don't know if you blogged on it before but Madison is an important locus of the whole American English scholarship. When I was a student there, the first volume of DARE was just coming to fruition.

eddie willers said...

The only time I heard Racine pronounced was the character William Hurt played in "Body Heat"... Ned Racine. (RAY seen)

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't know if you blogged on it before but Madison is an important locus of the whole American English scholarship. When I was a student there, the first volume of DARE was just coming to fruition."

Yeah, I remember that. Haven't seen much about it in recent years.

Things overwhelmed by the internet.

TOF said...

Growing up in central Illinois and having relatives living in Beloit, I used to hear it as Rah-CEEN. Rah-CEEN had a fast pitch team than consistently beat the home town State Farm team.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Touching her hair and neck, she doesn't seem very comfortable surrounded by those Wisconsinites.

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Beth said...

No one outside of Louisville pronounces the name of the city right. You get used to it, or rather, you come to expect it even if you don't accept it.

Chavez27 said...

What's the difference between a cheese head and a dick head? The Illinois state line.

James said...

I live in Racine and there's no agreed on pronunciation for the name; most natives say "RAY-seen."

In 1887, malted milk was invented by William Horlick in Racine. The garbage disposal was invented in 1927 by architect John Hammes of Racine.

Case tractors/agricultural machinery were also invented here; as was Johnson Wax. The corporate headquarters are still in Racine.

Inga said...

In Milwaukee we said Ray-seen and no one wanted to live there.

Nosmo said...

Don't blame Moochelle...She is from Illinoise...

Kevin said...

No Chicago explanation is necessary. The reason is obvious: The root word is "raci-" so she made the connection to the word she says 400 times a day, and pronounced it the same way. I know intuitively from the headline exactly how she pronounced it, with no Wisconsin experience necessary.

Daniel said...

Having grown up in Racine, I obviously pronounce it "RUH-seen". But I've heard so many people from outside the city pronounce it "RAY-seen" that it doesn't bother me. It's pretty hard to make a big deal out of that, or paint it as a major mistake.

On the other hand, Kerry's "Lambert" field was clearly sacrilegious.

kimsch said...

Just south of the Cheese Curtain, it's Ruh-seen.

Racine is the location of the only Chick-Fil-A in Wisconsin. It also has a nice little zoo that used to be free, but has an entrance fee now.

Drinking fountain.

Pop. (Although I had to switch to soda for several years when I was in the Army then in Vermont).

Wedgie or Grundy?

tmitsss said...

Here in South Carolina an author was inspired to write a book of Correct Mispronunciations of South Carolina Place names. Perhaps every state could use one, but none more so than here. Good luck with Eutawville or Edisto vistors

tcrosse said...

Racine to the turn of the crime.

tcrosse said...

She's lucky she didn't visit Oconomowoc, or Wauwatosa.

From Inwood said...

She thought it was pronounced like "racist"

jms said...

I'm from Chicago. Chicagoans pronounce it ray-scene. I've never heard anyone from Chicago pronounce it ruh-scene. I would file this under regional differences, not mistake.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Here in South Carolina an author was inspired to write a book of Correct Mispronunciations of South Carolina Place names. Perhaps every state could use one, but none more so than here

Oh. I dunno. Oregon has some pretty unpronounceable place names: many derived from Indian languages.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"RAY-seen" sounds like a Southernism to me (cf. "IN-surance"), so it's not too surprising that a black woman would pronounce it that way.

Dave LeBlanc said...

I have always pronounced it Raa-scene. I grew up in Michigan, for what it is worth.

Big Mike said...

Any truth to the story that she drove up to Green Bay and yelled "Go Bears"?

Big Mike said...

Just joking! I doubt she knows that there's a professional football team in Chicago, much less in Green Bay.

Big Mike said...

Any truth to the story that she drove up to Green Bay and yelled "Go Bears"?

Dale Mader said...

As a former Wisconsinite from the Fox Cities, it's always been Rayseen.

ricpic said...

...Johnson Wax. The corporate headquarters are still in Racine.

The architect was Frank Lloyd Wright. He rounded off the edges of the main tower building and in "The Great Workroom" thin pillars mushroom out at the ceiling so that the effect is floating circles that touch or almost touch with light descending to the workroom floor from the interstices between them. World famous.

exiledonmainst said...

There is a street in Milwaukee's South Side named Kinnickinnick. If you're a South Sider, you pronounce it "Kinny-kinnick" or (usually) "KK Ave."

Aliens (those who live north of Wisconsin Avenue) say "Kinnic-kinnic"

But on either side of the river, soda is always soda.

cokaygne said...

Northern New England probably feels the same way about Boston & MA is Wisconsinites feel about Chicago and IL.

Massholes use "tonic" for what you ignorant flatlanders call pop or sod

Kit said...

I grew up near Milwaukee and we said it both ways. What's the big deal?

ndspinelli said...

People I know who live in that horseshit town pronounce it Rayseen.

ndspinelli said...

Mr. D, If you're wealthy enough to live on Goethe you pronounce it correctly.

ndspinelli said...

People I know who live in that horseshit town pronounce it Rayseen.

Titus said...

Does Paul Ryan represent that Horse Shit town?

Titus said...

I believe that famous Frank Lloyd Wright building is closed now.

I could be wrong though.

It was fucking cool.

I think it leaked though, like a pregnant tit.

Joe Schmoe said...

Michelle kisses up to no one. You kiss up to Michelle. And thank her profusely for the privelege.

Ann, ask not what Michelle can do for you, ask what you can do for Michelle! Judging from the emails she sends you, stuffing a few bucks in her pocket would be a good start.

Erika said...

I think the first time I heard Racine spoken aloud was in A League of their Ownwhen the little sister (Lori Petty maybe?) chucks her glove across the room and spits, "I've been traded to RAY-SEEN!"

Maybe she said it wrong, not being a midwesterner, like the kids on iCarly who live in "Seattle" who don't know how to pronounce Spokane or Yakima.

pst314 said...

"In my experience, cheeseheads who speak dispargingly of FIB's usually mean visitors from Chicagoland."

Yes, that's right. And rightly so.

Sam L. said...

Say, I like Miss Spock in the yellow dress.

Michael Roberson said...

I didn't read all the comments so someone may have already posted a like sentiment.
I take a backseat to no one in my distaste for either of the Obamas. Frankly it scares me as it seems to become more visceral each passing day.
Having said that I wish to say that I think the whole "Ray-seen"/"Ruh-seen" 'controversy' is a tempest in a teapot. Seriously? This is what the dems/libs do, they manufacture a "gaffe" when it's a simple regional/pronunciation mis-speak.
I'm a native Arizonan and have had to deal all my life with people from out-of-state mispronouncing names, locations, etc.
I've never minded and as long as they are willing to receive some gentle and well-meant correction, it's all good to me.
Now, when people say, "You know back in (insert town/state) we did it this way." then I'm a little peeved.
But this appears to me to be a nothing deal. I'd much rather rake Ms. Obama over the coals for something more egregious such as how her husband doesn't blame others for his mistakes, or that his "recovery" is so wonderful. NOW THAT'S stupid on stilts!!
Just my opinion, you didn't ask for it and you're free to disagree but then you'll be a racist.

Michael Roberson said...

I didn't read all the comments so someone may have already posted a like sentiment.
I take a backseat to no one in my distaste for either of the Obamas. Frankly it scares me as it seems to become more visceral each passing day.
Having said that I wish to say that I think the whole "Ray-seen"/"Ruh-seen" 'controversy' is a tempest in a teapot. Seriously? This is what the dems/libs do, they manufacture a "gaffe" when it's a simple regional/pronunciation mis-speak.
I'm a native Arizonan and have had to deal all my life with people from out-of-state mispronouncing names, locations, etc.
I've never minded and as long as they are willing to receive some gentle and well-meant correction, it's all good to me.
Now, when people say, "You know back in (insert town/state) we did it this way." then I'm a little peeved.
But this appears to me to be a nothing deal. I'd much rather rake Ms. Obama over the coals for something more egregious such as how her husband doesn't blame others for his mistakes, or that his "recovery" is so wonderful. NOW THAT'S stupid on stilts!!
Just my opinion, you didn't ask for it and you're free to disagree but then you'll be a racist.

wyo sis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wyo sis said...

We have a little saying you may have heard. This is Wyoming where we don't care how they do it where you come from.
We're generous like that.

The Elder said...

All I know is that however a Chicagoan pronounces it . . . must be wrong.

The Elder said...

All I know is that however a Chicagoan pronounces it . . . must be wrong.

Nate Whilk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nate Whilk said...

Slightly OT:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57535336/bill-clinton-romney-thinks-were-dumb/

former President Bill Clinton today railed against Mitt Romney, charging that the GOP candidate "thinks we're dumb".

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57536565/lauding-obama-clinton-cites-impatient-americans/

"This shouldn't be a race," Clinton said. "The only reason it is, is because Americans are impatient on things not made before yesterday and they don't understand why the economy is not totally hunky-dory again."

Such an effective way to win us over: scolding us, calling us dumb. The arrogance and condescension is amazing.

MadisonMan said...

My understanding is that it is Ray-seen, with the accent on the first syllable. I've learned this from a St. Cat's graduate, and also a Racine Horlick grad.

Original Mike said...

When I was young, it was "Ruh-seen". Then at some point I started hearing "Ray-seen". It's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

sarge said...

sarge here yer eally reachin'

last sarge looked racine was close to wisconsin imn the geographiocv sense

also annie althouse you being from some other local yerself dont you be claimin' honorary 'sconie status. yer but a temporary wart on the ass of this fine state

gpm said...

I'm with Mr. D. I grew up half a mile from Racine Ave. (though, by the time I got out of grammar school, it was firmly on the *wrong* (from our point of view) side of the racial divide on the Southwest Side, i.e., Ashland Ave.). Further up north, on Roosevelt Road, I went to high school about a block and a half from Racine Ave. And it was always Ray-seen.

--gpm

Greg said...

Reminds me of the movie Mr. 3000, where Hollywood spent tens of millions of dollars but couldn't make a little effort to discover that Waukesha is not pronounced wau-KEE-sha.

Greg said...

Reminds me of the movie Mr. 3000, where Hollywood spent tens of millions of dollars but couldn't make a little effort to discover that Waukesha is not pronounced wau-KEE-sha.

gadfly said...

So how does she pronounce Berlin?

Ralph L said...

There's a Racine Road in Climax, NC, not far from me. Half the time, people misspell it as Racing Road. No idea where they got the name--the natives here are Scots-Irish and German, no Frenchmen allowed.

It is surprising how many Indian placenames survived the Indians. Wonder how many Anglo names the Mexicans will keep.

AllenS said...

Prescott, WI and then there is Prescott, AZ. Two different pronunciations.

Mary said...

Hm.
I wonder if you're aware of Racine's demographics.

Used to be solid white ethnic, now primarily black, and poor black at that. Plenty of Chicago-land transfers, so the FIB thing doesn't apply.

Think of it as a far northern extension of the South and West sides. Those were the people Mrs. Obama was speaking to, I suspect.

Otherwise, your analysis of of how Wisconsinites view flatlanders is spot on, but you really do have to think black and white here to understand the FIB thing is something white people like. Black folk in Racine have bigger concerns than being called silly names.

Rusty said...

Jason (the commenter) said...
Touching her hair and neck, she doesn't seem very comfortable surrounded by those Wisconsinites.


She does not like white people. Period.

Rusty said...

ricpic said...
...Johnson Wax. The corporate headquarters are still in Racine.

The architect was Frank Lloyd Wright. He rounded off the edges of the main tower building and in "The Great Workroom" thin pillars mushroom out at the ceiling so that the effect is floating circles that touch or almost touch with light descending to the workroom floor from the interstices between them. World famou

And after he was done they had to rework the roof because it leaked like a seive.

indianist said...

nice he well learn how to kiss after this