1. Was there some Tennessee Republican summit in which a list of dumbass racist things to do or say was passed out so that they could compete to see who could pull off the most outrageous? Like I said over at Kevin‘s, this is getting to be hilarious and embarrassing.
2. Okay, so we have Peter Yarrow’s somewhat bizarre take on the “Barack the Magic Negro” parody. (Puff wouldn’t like it? A. Puff’s friend deserted him; he lost his scales; and sulks in a cave. I’m sure that can turn a dragon mean. B. Puff’s not real! C. So that song wasn’t about pot?) But who’s going to ask Spike Lee? Isn’t he the one who came up with the super-dooper-magical negro in the first place?
This is what I find hilarious about the whole thing–and I’m going to say up front that the humor, for me, comes in part from the fact that I’m a nerdy girl–is that listening to “Barack the Magic Negro” is about on par with watching Karl Rove put on his best hip hop persona. Is it racist? Yes. But, in both cases, worse than that, it shows a complete and utter cluelessness about the very thing you’re parodying.
And there is a very funny parody to be made of white liberals hoping for that in Obama in Lee’s sense of the Magic Negro, that he will come along just when they/we need him and use his powers to fix everything for us all while wanting nothing for himself. And now that Obama’s started to piss folks on the left off, it might even be funnier, because it would poke fun at white hopes and expectations of Obama.
But this parody is just so fucking square. It’s like “Oh we heard this phrase and it sounds like an insult and it has the word ‘negro’ in it, so it must be something black people call each other so let’s write a song in which Al Sharpton calls Obama a magic negro. That will be swell.”
Does it show the Republicans’ racism? Yes. But a bigger problem than that for the Republicans is that it reaffirms their inherent out-of-touch-ness. I mean, conservatives can complain all they want about Republicans kowtowing to the Religious Right, but at least Evangelical Christianity is a vibrant culture. Without the conservative Christians to give some liveliness and cultural relevance to the Right, it’s like they’re Omega Theta Pi.
(Ha, it’s always good to end a post with an Animal House reference.)