April 24, 2016

"... and a white man does not bring much 'wow' factor for Democrats these days."

From a NYT article titled "Who Might Hillary Clinton's Running Mate Be if She's the Nominee?," under the "Why he might not be the best choice" heading for Tim Kaine:
Mr. Kaine might be too moderate for the activist base, and a white man does not bring much 'wow' factor for Democrats these days. He might also be too obvious a pick to make a splash, and his support for trade deals could hurt the ticket, as well. 


I would like government that doesn't wow. I'd prefer to get my wows from things other than government officials.

In the larger scheme of things, life is better when government does nothing that makes you say "wow."

And I look forward to the day when the fact that someone doing something is a woman or a nonwhite person is no reason to say "wow."

And who says "wow" seriously anymore? Isn't "wow" much more likely to be said sarcastically? I have the feeling that if I just write "wow" in a few more sentences, you will perceive "wow" as an entirely idiotic word that can never be used — including in that pushback way that's popular amongst the censorious scolds. Wow... as in: I cannot believe you said that rather ordinary thing you just said. I've about had it with "wow."

I lived through the old hippie days when the range of vocabulary got very narrow and "wow" was one of the few remaining words. Steve Jobs, down to his last 2 words, said, "Oh, wow." In fact, 3 of his last 6 words were "wow" (the other 3 were "oh").

But we're not dying yet, not most of us anyway, and we need to keep our wits about us, and that means resisting the "wow."

Don't say "wow," and don't look for the "wow." We don't need "wow" in our politicians. Leave "wow" to the pop stars...
You never saw it coming 'cause I make no claims 'til now
You can call it the unexpected or you can call it... wow!
You can call it call it... wow!
You can call it call it call it... wow!
You can call it the unexpected or you can call it call it call it call it...
Gimme a minute.
Let me get myself together.
I'm never really out of control.
Really, I'm so much better.
Maybe it's your eyes, your stare lookin' like...
Lookin' like you wanna go somewhere.
You wanna go somewhere?
Yesterday, we were walking out on Picnic Point with our borrowed dog Zeus, and we crossed paths with a couple with a little toddler who was so interested in the dog that she started following us. We turned back and interacted with the parents and talked about "our" dog and their child's interest in dogs. English was not their first language, and the man, talking to the child about the dog, made the sound a dog makes not the way we do — not "bow wow" — but "how how."

And I'm thinking, you politicians, I don't want wow. I want how.

54 comments:

David Begley said...

Quite the comment about Steve Jobs. Don't speak ill of the dead. He could have said, "groovy."

MayBee said...

Why is it ok to badmouth white people. It's everywhere, this casual bigotry.

Laslo Spatula said...

You cannot watch "Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS" without thinking to yourself 'wow' at least once.

I dare you.

Don't even get me going on "Cannibal Holocaust."

I am Laslo.

MayBee said...

And I look forward to the day when the fact that someone doing something is a woman or a nonwhite person is a reason to say "wow."

I suspect you meant to type *not* a reason to say "wow". If so, I agree.

Sebastian said...

"I would like government that doesn't wow . . . In the larger scheme of things, life is better when government does nothing that makes you say "wow." And I look forward to the day when the fact that someone doing something is a woman or a nonwhite person is a reason to say "wow."" Did you mean "nothing" instead of something in that last sentence?

Anyway, it's a little late in the day, a century into the Progressive era, to oppose the wow factor in government. We quasi-libertarian conservatives welcome your belated support, but we also have a feeling that, when the chips are down, our anti-wow candidates will "lose you" in favor of the next smooth talker (or even a shill shrew) promising hope and change, and that your "nothing" actually means leaving the whole wowy Prog administrative and welfare state legacy in place.

John Bragg said...

"Wow. Just, wow."
I believe this is now the most common usage of "wow." An amalgam of incomprehension, disapproval that proclaims the target unworthy of civilized discussion.

Mark said...

Tim Kaine also is a lame-brained, imbecilic, dullard.

Meade said...

Ho how!

Bob Boyd said...

I hit a horse with my truck once. Wow!
Once you hit a horse, you'll never go back to deer.

Ann Althouse said...

"I suspect you meant to type *not* a reason to say "wow". If so, I agree."

Yes, thanks for translating from the error (which I'd fixed on my own already).

David Begley said...

Is Tim Kaine remotely prepared or qualified to be Commader-in-Chief and Leader of the Free World?

No.

Impeachment insurance.

Lem said...

I think Hillary should pick a woman.

It's about time we had a female vice president.

MayBee said...

I also cannot imagine Elizabeth Warren as a VP. That will really change our country. I would almost have to vote for Trump.

Laslo Spatula said...

Wow still has its uses.

Wow is a relatively slow form of flutter (pitch variation) which can affect both gramophone records and tape recorders. In the latter, the collective expression wow and flutter is commonly used.

To put in Althouse idiom: when you listen to Dylan on vinyl you will have a hard time discerning recording wow from Dylan's vocal wow.

I am Laslo.

MayBee said...

The past 8 years of complaining about the obstructionist republicans and the supposedly neutral pleas for Congress to work together and "get things done" have actually been calls for a government that "wow"s us.
It's all been planting the seed that the only correct action for the government is to do more.

Laslo Spatula said...

Digitally adding wow and flutter to a modern recording with give the semblance of 'old-timey' sound.

I am Laslo.

Michael K said...

Democrats are the non-white man party.

One standard deviation below in intelligence.

What could go wrong ?

Miriam said...

Good grief, I feel as if I'm being shamed and scolded into never typing "wow" ever again. Can I still say good grief? Elizabeth Warren as VP would bring a great deal of support from the liberal base, I think she deserves a pow wow.

Danno said...

Blogger David Begley said...Is Tim Kaine remotely prepared or qualified to be Commader-in-Chief and Leader of the Free World?

For what its worth, David, after Obama absolutely anyone is qualified to be President. You should know that.

PB said...

She'll pick Tom Perez.

Meade said...

How now, pow wow? Who knew, Liz Woo?

jr565 said...

What about Elizabeth warreN? She's another woman, so it would be the estrogen ticket. More importantly though, it would potentially bridge the divide between the left and Hillary. It's throwing them a bone, since Elizabeth is Bernie light.

Roughcoat said...

Even worse: saying "wow" when you're wearing shorts. (If you are a white man.)

virgil xenophon said...

Danno ABSOLUTELY wins the thread!

Quaestor said...

Unfortunately "wow" is much too persuasive to a much too large bloc to ignore. Two reasons why: To the low information voter the only way to get their attention is to wow them, as it were, with good looks and eloquence, what the Irish call glamor — the fatal charm of the daoine sìth. Secondly, the running mate must not overshadow the candidate. To the more objective and informed voter the running mate with a creditable how begs the question why of the candidate, especially of one with so thin a resumé as Miz Hillary's. In her case "wow" is the only option that does not undermine her.

Tried to use the phoneme tu as much as possible without being silly. I count 9 out of 107. Not too good.

Phunctor said...

Prof Althouse, you fascinate me. Short of a Yeltsin on a tank, your Democratic party is not coming back, and you clearly know it. Yet you continue a lonely struggle. From the opposite barricades, I salute you!

Gahrie said...

a white man does not bring much 'wow' factor for Democrats these days.

Is the writer paying attention to the news? The only "wow" thing the Democrats have going for them at the moment is a White man....or is Bernie somehow not White?

Ann Althouse said...

"your Democratic party is not coming back"

What Democratic Party is that? I can't remember ever being a Democratic Party person. Haven't ever been enamored by any party. I do vote. You think there's some golden age I'm pining for? What does it consist of in your mind and why are you attributing fandom of it to me? I have no memory of ever being in the frame of mind where I thought some party is really what we need and if only we could keep it that way or looked back longingly on some previous state of any party. You must be thinking of somebody else. Who gets to feel like that? Not me. Not ever. I didn't even see a President elected that I supported at the time of the election until I was 40 years old and my support of the guy was only marginal. Politics and government are something I've always held at arm's length.

Gahrie said...

Politics and government are something I've always held at arm's length.

Then how the Hell did you teach Constitutional law?

Hagar said...

I had quite a "WOW!" reaction when I heard Obama had picked Biden for a running mate, though perhaps not in the direction NYT is looking for.

MayBee said...

Is there any talk of Hillary choosing Bernie?

Otto said...

The wow in politics started with Kennedy. Charisma was the earlier form of wow. Resulted after reason and God was thrown out post WWII. Was an undertow in the 50s and fully blossomed in the 60s.

Bruce Hayden said...

Then how the Hell did you teach Constitutional law?

I think that Ann is right here. Call it her cruel neutrality applied to her work. One of the most unsettling things I encountered during law school was in the discussion of Roe v. Wade, et seq. A woman was actually asked to take the anti side of the debate in class. The class revolted, asking the administration to censure the prof. They just didn't get that it is important for lawyers to be neutral and objective in their understanding of the law. There is a place for advocacy, but it shouldn't obscure your understanding of what the law is, and why it is where it is right now. You just cannot really be a good lawyer without being able to separate yourself and your advocacy from your understanding of what the law is and where it came from. The advocacy is where you want it to go.

Bruce Hayden said...

I lived through the old hippie days when the range of vocabulary got very narrow and "wow" was one of the few remaining words.

My memory is that we often said it like "wow, man", with little voice inflection to downplay it. Very understated. I really don't remember saying or hearing "wow" used as an exclamation.

Bruce Hayden said...

Right now, my bet would be that Hillary picks one of the Castro twins (Juilan and Joaquin). Young (41), Hispanic, articulate, handsome, and very liberal. Mother helped form the La Raza Unida party. Julian Castro is the Secretary of HUD, and his brother Joaquin is a member of the House of Representatives. If you want WOW for Hillary, one of them is probably high on the list. And, they offset a lot of her weaknesses.

ken in tx said...

Laslo, I know Ilsa.I met her in a bar in Mississippi, outside an air base. She was ostensibly married to an American GI. She was an unreconstructed Nazi. She had a tendency to bite and scratch. She left marks. Never met Inga though.

damikesc said...

At this point, I do not care. This country has killed my love of America. I will teach my kids to hate and loathe the Left and fight them by whatever means are necessary.

Michael K said...

There is a place for advocacy, but it shouldn't obscure your understanding of what the law is, and why it is where it is right now.

I have a story in my book of a case in which I testified where the defense attorney, who had a client who was guilty as hell, kept continuing the case until he got the affirmative action deputy DA. He explained to me that he was "a bleeding heart liberal" but this was business.

He won that case which was a husband shooting the naked man he found in bed with his wife. The defense was "self defense."

I told him that, if I ever needed a lawyer...

I personally think Hillary will pick Cory Booker as she knows she is toast without the black vote.

Gahrie said...

I think that Ann is right here. Call it her cruel neutrality applied to her work.

She didn't say "neutral" or "objective"...she said at arm's length. That means she tried to remain unconnected to government or politics. Constitutional law is nothing but government and politics, and I would expect a Constitutional law professor to embrace them, while remaining objective while teaching them.

Phil 3:14 said...

Here's a white guy who brings the "Wow".

LarsPorsena said...

Wow is so yesterday. Awesome is the new wow

Paul Snively said...

Dr. Althouse: "In the larger scheme of things, life is better when government does nothing that makes you say 'wow.'

And I look forward to the day when the fact that someone doing something is a woman or a nonwhite person is no reason to say 'wow.'"

Oh, bullshit. If a single, solitary word of this were true, it would have been categorically impossible for you to vote Democrat any time within the last three decades, at a bare minimum.

cubanbob said...

"And I look forward to the day when the fact that someone doing something is a woman or a nonwhite person is no reason to say 'wow.'"

If Hillary Clinton picks someone who isn't a criminal, a traitor, a grifter, a communist and isn't an idiot and is plausibly competent I will definitely be wowed. Of course if she did, then we would have a new president two weeks after her inauguration after she is impeached and removed. Not gonna happened. Which paradoxically is a a reasoned to be wowed.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Yeah yeah makes me think of Kid Rock, natch^ ^yeah it's disturbing but per what scale of likewise compared to other ends?

"You got a Bently wow, I got..."

(jets with wet bars and trucks with gold plows)

I have Catholic concepts, and that little bit of history, at least.

Of course only because the cafeteria is so cafeteriasly by God thank God.

Luke Lea said...

Far out.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Hillary already has the Black vote. She needs the Ignorant Zombie Leftist vote.

Phil 3:14 said...

Maybe she needs a Liberal male from a swing state, like


Russ Feingold?

Gahrie said...

I just watched the East Coast feed of Game of Thrones...and I literally said wow.

Freeman Hunt said...

Always trying to get us to tune in to the next term of "The Presidency."

Birches said...

The Castros are so not qualified, but they check a couple of boxes, so it probably will be one of them. Neither of them speak fluent Spanish btw, so it really is just for looks.

Hazy Dave said...

Oh, so this is why there's an ad for something called "WOW" in the Amazon portal advertising. $1.29, whatever it is. I didn't fall for that clickbait.

JaimeRoberto said...

I'd be happy with "competent" instead of "wow". Granted for a VP competent means he has a pulse and is breathing.

walter said...

I don't see a 2008 wowser. Although Hil gives us the chance for a male first lady. Trans-formative.
If unwow is the ticket, maybe it should include Jim Webb. Maybe he's 1/64th something minority like what's her name..the one who was all lined up to run..but didn't..can't.remember.name.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Wow seems to be a word that's made it into modern Israeli Hebrew, the obly wrord with a 'w' sound in modern Hebrew.