October 5, 2018

What Melania did was "like showing up to a meeting of African-American cotton farmers in a Confederate uniform."

What did she do? She wore a white pith helmet in Africa. The quote is from Matthew Carotenuto, a coordinator of African Studies at St. Lawrence University, who added "Historical context matters." That is, some people associate pith helmets with the colonial era in Africa. The quote appears in "Melania Trump Raises Eyebrows in Africa With Another White Hat" (NYT). The NYT says a few nice things, deep in the article:
Mrs. Trump has seemed at ease... She has posed for photos with babies and children, often murmuring the same things at each stop — “Beautiful!” and “Hi, guys!” — while holding their hands or waving at the cameras.... On Friday, she looked happy as she visited a red clay feeding pen for orphaned elephants at the Nairobi National Park. She administered them formula in oversized baby bottles, patted the animals on their heads and inspected their floppy ears.
We're told she wore a white shirt and that the shirt did not get dirty as she fed the baby elephants.

Why does the headline say "Another White Hat"? I think it's because there was a lot of talk last April about a white hat she wore in France. See "Melania Trump, White Hat/The first lady’s choice of headgear made quite a statement on the second day of the French state visit" (NYT). The NYT fashion critic struggled to find meaning:
In the iconography of the Western, the good guys wore white hats... It’s possible Mrs. Trump is not aware of this.... Except she has something of a history of using white suits to send what seem like fairly pointed messages; see her decision to wear white — associated with women’s rights in the form of the suffragist movement, as well as Hillary Clinton — to her husband’s first State of the Union address, which happened to be her first high-profile appearance with him after the Stormy Daniels scandal broke.... 
Whatever. We know Melania's most famous fashion message: "I really don’t care. Do U?"



AND: In getting pushed around by a baby elephant, compare Ava Gardner (in "Mogambo," suggested by commenter rcocean):

95 comments:

readering said...

Okay that criticism is idiotic

gilbar said...

Matthew Carotenuto, a coordinator of African Studies at St. Lawrence University, who added "Historical context matters." That is, some people associate pith helmets with the colonial era in Africa.
are there any indications that ANY People in Africa make this association?

Ken B said...

Have you repented your “but his shirt” attacks on that scientist?

Ken B said...

“If you hear the dog whistle you're the dog.”

Richard said...

Trump should be ashamed of himself. He has driven the Left stark raving mad.

Bay Area Guy said...

Is it me or does the Left tend to focus on trivial matters?

Hold my pith helmet.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Maybe the pith helmet was worn something like a football helmet, in case she was charged by an elehant?

Ann Althouse said...

I assume the pith helmet is functional and therefore appropriate since it's not a political hat in any way.

The people in social media, as the NYT article says, have a hashtag that's just about looking for fashion things to criticize about her. I think it's mean-spirited and silly, but it's lightweight fun compared to some other things I've seen today. Lightweight fun because it makes the critique look bad, not her. She looks fantastic, even when getting pushed around by an elephant. (See the video)

JaimeRoberto said...

And she's wearing white after Labor Day. Deplorable.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Think what this will do for pith helmet sales! Be sure to buy yours using the Althouse Amazon portal.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“Think what this will do for pith helmet sales! Be sure to buy yours using the Althouse Amazon portal.”

Pithy comment!

Murph said...

https://amzn.to/2Pdev1O

Hurry and get yours before they're gone!

bagoh20 said...

She was wearing a hat?

Ken B said...

Make Dr Livingston Great Again

Jay Elink said...

I guess this North Vietnam soldier didn't the word that he was wearing an imperialistic symbol:


https://www.bing.com/th?id=OIP.oR_vEQUxbkugIauvnjoqHgAAAA&w=160&h=213&c=7&o=5&dpr=2&pid=1.7

What stupid scrunts.

Pugsley the Pug said...

This dude is Caucasian, unless his photo on St. Lawrence University’s website is the wrong photo. I thought it was heresy for a white person, especially male, to teach a subject on African Studies, let alone co-ordinate the program on African studies, at a university without being racially African since they can’t know what it is like to live in a world without the advantage of so-called “White Privilege”. I mean, that is basic dogma of the liberal left. Just sayin’...Oh, wait, I forget about that unwritten liberal law - Do as I say, not as I do.”.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Demos are pithing against the wind with this. But I guess they have to move the focus off of Kavanaugh.

Rob said...

Melania is full of pith and vinegar.

rhhardin said...

I've forgotten. Was the colonial thing bad or good. Now everybody's migrating to Europe.

Phil 3:14 said...

St. Lawrence University is in rural far northern New York State. One of the whitest places in America. They don't where pith helmets there because its too damned cold.

But I wouldn't be surprised if deep down inside Mr. Carotenuto wouldn't mind showing Melania the "right things to wear in a very hot climate"

PS He'd probably like her to leave the boots on.

readering said...

Jay Elink: Well, she did grow up under communism.

CWJ said...

Ann Althouse said...
"I assume the pith helmet is functional and therefore appropriate since it's not a political hat in any way."

Agreed. Heaven forbid that functionality and in her case style should be considered before political sniping. Someone at the NYT has watched "Zulu" one too many times, and managed to mash it up with "GWTW."

Clyde said...

Hillary would have worn a black hat, in Westworld fashion. One suspects the body count would have been in TV-MA territory.

Darrell said...

The Left thinks that black people are stupid.
As always.
I think they can see it is the visiting First Lady of the United States, not an invasion/colonizing party.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

She really is a beautiful and poised woman.

Can you imagine with Trump's family, the economy and his successful presidency, what his job approval would be if we had a press that was even close to being fair.

CWJ said...

Phil 3:14,

"PS He'd probably like her to leave the boots on."

Randy Newman would say she "could leave your hat on."

Which brings us back OT.

chickenlittle said...

WTF is wrong with those malcontents at the NYT?

I hope they fall on hard times and lay a few of them off.

Darrell said...

Every person Melania meets in Kenya asks her for a MAGA hat.

Hagar said...

The hat she wore is not a museum piece.

CWJ said...

BTW,

Gender appreciative CWJ and spouse have traveled extensively in Europe. Slovenes and Croats rank extremely high on average on the stunning scale. Slovenes win out on personality. Before our visit to southern mittel europe, Milanas would have been #1.

Michael said...

Alas, she gave the game away. DJT plans to annex Africa in his fourth administration and his wife, his then current wife, will be the first Resident Chief. Pith helmets required. I myself own one. Also a bowler. Also a homburg. Also a trilby. And a rather good Panama.

Darrell said...

She should ask to visit Barack Obama's birthplace in Kenya before she goes home. Tape all the stories from local villagers/eyewitnesses.

Michael said...

Or maybe Melania just does these things to bait the academic and media types, knowing how silly they will sound to pretty much everyone else...

jb said...

Brew Crew 4 - Rockies 0

BC's up 2-0

mockturtle said...

Leave it to the NYT to find something to criticize about Melania. Good effing grief!!!

Darrell said...

NYT. Fake News of Record.

CWJ said...

Die Rockies die.

rcocean said...

In the movie Mogambo - Ava Gardner gets pushed around by some baby Elephants as she tries to feed them.

Its quite attractive. Which is why John Ford, added it to the movie.

rcocean said...

There was a popular 20s comedy act - Gallagher and Sheen. They wore pith helmets, because they were supposedly in Egypt.

Just FYI.

Michael said...

My pith helmet is authentic, proper. Cork covered in canvas. Way sensible hat in the burning midday sun. Our white friend at St. Lawrence has no business teaching anything if he conflates colonial Africa to a slave colony. And referring to African American cotton farmers implies he sees them in his mind's eye as picking cotton. I think Trump should have his office raided to determine if he posses African artifacts of antiquity.

Darrell said...

My African-American Mail Carrier wears a white pith helmet.
I must talk to him about it.

rcocean said...

Actually in March 1865 Men in Confederate uniforms showed up in front of "African American Farmers" and tried to get them to enlist in the Confederate Army.

Motivation: Freedom and some Land. Success? Too soon to tell. Lee Surrendered in early April 1865.

rcocean said...

My African-American Mail Carrier wears a white pith helmet.

He might be Ok with it. Its the black farmers that might get upset.

rcocean said...

Hey, he's Canadian. African American "Farmers", people in Kenya.

What's the diff?

And don't call him racist. Because anyone on the Left can't be a racist.

Michael said...

Why are those Africans in the video in Western clothes?

whitney said...

Melania Trump likes to make sartorial statements and then doesn't explain. It's a shame the Press doesn't follow her more. I find her interesting in that Stillwater sort of way

buwaya said...

The problem here is not that the writer has an appreciation for "historical context", but that he doesn't actually understand the context.

The pith helmet was used in a western liberal context as anti-colonial propaganda, not in a native context. A couple of generations of western editorial cartoons is the whole of the "context".

rehajm said...

What NYT did was like Tokyo Rose or Baghdad Bob.

Unknown said...

FFS, these people, the ones writing this stuff and complaining, are out of their f*cking minds.

-sw

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I a few oak trees on some property I have in Europe. When I bought the property the previous owners took the cork. Now almost 10+ years later, next year will be my first harvest of cork.

The price of cork is way down but one harvest will net me more than the price of the property!

Darrell said...

The New Yorker will draw her in a top hat wearing a monocle.

traditionalguy said...

Melania has a job too. Her President is busy with Rallies and the upcoming release of the Red October proofs of the War upon the USA by Obama's FBI done with the Brits and Aussies providing him assistance and cover for his attempts to kill Trump.

If you think Kavanaugh is feisty when he discovers that he is under attack, just watch what Donald Trump does.

Tank said...

If Trump were a Democrat, Melania would be on the cover of 20 different magazines every month. Instead, to the extent they cover her at all, they examine everything she does looking for something to criticize.

buwaya said...

Arguably the idea of the pith helmet, or rather the sun helmet, not originally made of pith or anything like it, came from the Philippines.

Arguably - because the originals of the 1850's were in fact woven hats, sometimes but not always cloth covered, taken from the ubiquitous and traditional Philippine "salacot" -

Salacot - Philippines

Indeed, "salacot" is the term for pith helmets in French and Spanish.

There is no question that the first of these sun helmets were independently developed by the British in India, but how it got into French (use and language) may be interesting. I believe this is an artifact of the French invasion of Annam and Cochinchina (Saigon), 1858-62. This conquest was accomplished in alliance with Spain, which provided most of the troops, in the form of a Filipino regiment in Spanish service (wearing salacots of course), in which my ggggrandpa was a major of infantry.

Koot Katmandu said...

Mean girl paper is gonna be mean.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Actually, what she's wearing is the American fiber helmet, which was developed for the military back in the 1930's.

The headgear that was most commonly worn by the British whilst colonizing Africa (and India, too) was the Foreign Service Helmet, worn here by Sir Henry Morton Stanley. Ladies would replace the puggaree with a long scarf.

Of course, none of this matters to the elitist douchbag NYT readers. They just know they saw Clark Gable wear the same helmet FLOTUS is wearing in an old movie on TCM with a whole lot of "Africans"* running around shouting 'Bwanna! Bwanna!', therefore it's evil.

*Straight from central casting.

buwaya said...

Last year touring through the Ilocos, we stopped by the ancestral home (well, actually his wife's home) of President Elpidio Quirino (president, 1948-53).

Anyway, the place had his old hats.

E Quirino - hats

Top left is an antique salacot - made to resemble a pith helmet (and there's one center-bottom). Somewhere on the internet there's a picture of the old boy wearing it. I also have a very fine antique salkot-that-looks-like-a-pith-helmet that's quite similar. That is some serious cultural appropriation feedback. Borrow, and borrow back.

Todd Galle said...

This is ridiculous. I like hats, and have a fair collection for different purposes. I have a straw boater for miniature golf, my old park service smokey the bear hat for Halloween and such, a French Foreign Legion hat, a British bowler, a pith helmet, and I just got a British Bobby hat. I also have a silly Italian Carabinieri piss-cutter, and a WW1 British soft cap with the ear flaps. Plus a glengarry and a bonnet with a magnificent hackle for when I wear the kilt and want to look smart. I'm sure I'm overlooking some. Sometimes a hat is just a hat.

rcocean said...

Woo Hoo, I got mentioned!

Todd Galle said...

Don't get me started on spats, though.

Mark Jones said...

I read the headline--and yawned. I don't care. I don't care if she DID wear a pith helmet. I don't care if people feel insulted. I don't even care if she wore the pith helmet with malice aforethought solely in order to insult someone.

I. Just. Don't. Care. For going on three years now I've heard the incessant drumbeat of hatred against Trump and anyone associated with him. Flagrant lies, nasty innuendo, and selective editing all in the service of trying to punish him for beating Hilary in the election, and us for voting for him.

My first reaction to any accusation against Trump, his family, his administration is to assume that it's a lie. A blatant lie, probably; a sleazy half-truth at best. But even if it's not? Short of turning into a squishy GOPe-style Republican flinching every time a Democrat makes a sudden gesture, there's almost nothing he could do that would turn me against him.

The Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) have made it clear that this is war to the knife and he's our guy, so there you go. You don't turn on the guy in the foxhole next to you just because he's uncouth, or not the sort of guy'd associate with during peacetime. He's still got your back, and you have his because the alternative is defeat.

So did Melania commit a faux pas? Probably not, but even if she did I don't care. Are peoples' noses out of joint? I'm sure, but the usual suspects are always exercised over something. I don't care. No matter how loudly the left hollers, I still won't care.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Melania is totally snubbed by the entertainment HIllarywood Weisteinlanders.

F Them.

She's nice and pretty. Leftists are horrid.

Todd Galle said...

Just saw the photo, and North above is correct, it is not a pith helmet one would associate with either African or Asian service with the British. American in design. The African guide/guard behind her is wearing more 'Colonial' headgear than her. That beret is obviously a European design, along with the placement of the unit flash.

FullMoon said...

Whatever. We know Melania's most famous fashion message: "I really don’t care. Do U?"

Wrong. The hood on the sweatshirt purposely covered the "I".
So, the message to the reporters and photographers seeing the words was: "Don't care, do you?"

Purposely spread as false news.

FullMoon said...


Blogger rehajm said...

What NYT did was like Tokyo Rose or Baghdad Bob.


"Tokyo Rose ceased to be merely a symbol in September 1945 when Iva Toguri D'Aquino, an American-born Japanese disc jockey for a propagandist radio program, attempted to return to the United States.[1] Toguri was accused of being the 'real' Tokyo Rose, arrested, tried, and became the seventh person in U.S. history to be convicted of treason.[1] Toguri was eventually paroled from prison in 1956, but it was more than 20 years before she received an official presidential pardon for her role in the war."[1]

Balfegor said...

I assume the pith helmet is functional and therefore appropriate since it's not a political hat in any way.

They would probably say literally exactly rhe same thing if she had worn a Panama hat.

tcrosse said...

She's nice and pretty. Leftists are horrid.

They're upset because Weinstein's cock is no longer available to suck.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

oh FFS !

these Lefties are so stupid they couldnt pour pith out of a helmet even if the instructions were written on the crown.

William said...

I just hope they don't mistake her for a missionary and boil her in a big, old kettle pot.

3MartiniLunch said...

"Melania Trump Raises Eyebrows in Africa With Another White Hat" I'm guessing that the only raised eyebrows were those of the NYT author. Willing to bet nobody else gave a tinker's damn.

Otto said...

From Wikipedia "She is the second foreign-born woman to hold the title of First Lady, after Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, who was born in 1775 in London to a father from Maryland and an English mother.[84][85] She is the first First Lady to be a naturalized citizen (rather than birthright citizen), and the first whose mother tongue is not English.[86] At 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m), she is also one of the tallest First Ladies, tied with Michelle Obama and Eleanor Roosevelt."
An early blog was about women's motives for their choice of clothes. This woman is hot in whatever she wears . She is by far the most handsome and sexiest FLOTUS.

Derek Kite said...

So whose eyebrows were raised? Was it accompanied by a haughty sniff?

Char Char Binks said...

I hope she goes to the Far East and wears one of those chinky hats. Or just wears one anyway.

Ambrose said...

And tonight I hope all the Slovenians are celebrating. "We've arrived! We are now fully white and part of the oppressor class. No longer can we Slovenians were white pith hats in Africa. What a long way we have come from Tito."

walter said...

Even this can pith some off.

Not Sure said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Not Sure said...

So whose eyebrows were raised?

Hers, but in a fetching way.

Not Sure said...

"Melania" is so close to "melanin" that she's basically black.

RichardJohnson said...

Maybe the long winters near the Canadian border drive people at St. Lawrence University off the deep end. White pith helmets drive this St. Lawrence prof batty. George Ciccariello-Maher, who got his bachelor's degree at St. Lawrence University, became infamous for his "white genocide" tweets, eventually resigning from his position at Drexel. As a further example that George Ciccariello-Maher is off the deep end, he wrote a book telling us all the good things that Hugo Chavez did.

Bob Loblaw said...

The brim on that hat is far too wide for it to be a pith helmet. It's just a hat.

This is why nobody takes grievance studies departments the least bit seriously.

Jersey Fled said...

Those Romanians are widely known for their colonialist adventures in Africa. Appalling.

rhhardin said...

Are any of the elephants themselves models, or model-material. Elephant taste isn't really known.

rhhardin said...

Elephant foreplay has a possibility not given to humans. On the other hand, they don't have fingers.

rhhardin said...

There's no problem with false memory with elephants, at least.

rhhardin said...

Believe the elephant.

rhhardin said...

Walburton said that the elephant is the only animal with no ridiculous aspect.

rhhardin said...

I remember when PC shut down elephant jokes.

The Crack Emcee said...

It's so weird:

If I talk to "whites" here about black Americans, they immediately start talking about Africa. But, let a white person talk about a white person - in Africa - and it's "like showing up to a meeting of African-American cotton farmers in a Confederate uniform."

I'm starting to think whites should butt-out, of all conversations of this nature, just so the debate can stay in one place....

stlcdr said...

"My African-American Mail Carrier wears a white pith helmet. "

Thats the first thing I thought! Was she wearing shorts?

chuck said...

I'm dubious that the NY Times knows anything about black cotton farmers, much less Africa. The Upper West Side seems more like their stomping grounds.

Known Unknown said...

"Was she wearing shorts?"

How dare you assume the mail carrier's gender! Shitlord!

The Crack Emcee said...

Don't forget the Civil Rights Movement's designated "weirdo"* James Meredith, with his famous pith helmet.

*He was the proto-black conservative who briefly led a one-man safari into the future. A white guy shot him, forcing the rest of the movement to take up Meredith's cause, and that - especially the anger that arose from it - led to the "Black Power" movement, white conservatives now hate.

Our history is wild. Pith helmets.

William Chadwick said...

You have to remember that "liberals" hate colonialism . . . and yet were mostly silent and apathetic about the Captive Nations of Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

Mac McConnell said...

Melania Trump is always tastefully attired. She wears her clothing without affectation, she is comfortable in her clothing. Her clothing is always appropriate for the circumstances.

Pith helmet correct, camp blouse correct, riding pants correct and damn those Gen. Patton approved field riding boots. $20 will get you a $100 Melania is an accomplished horsewoman.

Journalist and academics seem to reside in the same bag of dicks.

Bob Loblaw said...

You have to remember that "liberals" hate colonialism . . . and yet were mostly silent and apathetic about the Captive Nations of Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

Pretty much. Pretend US imperialism? Terrible. Actual Russian and Chinese imperialism? No problem.