Anger Management Help: Xenophobic Edition


Almost everyone these days has a video or a quote from some angry angry McCain supporter yelling something mean and racist – are they stupid? do they just what to be on TV? do they not realize that they racism isn’t cool anymore? – I feel so bad for them as I know that the best anger management technique is to repress all the anger. I hope this helps deal with it, dear McCain/Palin comrade: 

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Jacques-Alain Miller on Sarah Palin


From the Lacanian Ink website, here’s Jacques-Alain Miller (for what it’s worth) discussing Sarah Palin, castration and a new race of political women:

The choice of Sarah Palin is a sign of the times. In politics, the feminine enunciation is hence called to dominate. But be careful! It’s no longer about women who play elbows, modeling themselves on the men. We are entering an era of postfeminist women, women who, without bargaining, are ready to kill the political men. The transition was perfectly visible during Hillary’s campaign: she began playing the commander in chief and, since that didn’t work, what did she do? She sent a subliminal message, one that said something like: “Obama? He’s got nothing in the pants.” And she immediately took it back, but it was too late. Sarah Palin is not only picking up where she left off but, being younger by fifteen years, she is otherwise ferocious, slinging feminine sarcasm like a natural; she overtly castrates her male adversaries (and with such frank jubilation!) and their only recourse is to remain silent: they have no idea how to attack a woman who uses her femininity to ridicule them and reduce them to impotence. For the moment, a woman who plays the “castration” card is invincible. Continue reading

Charisma, Obama and Weber: A Discussion


Two things.  Here’s an interesting conversation between Paul Price and Craig Calhoun over at Societas:

In another conversation with Paul Price, Craig Calhoun continues his analysis of supposedly irrational factors at play in electoral politics. This time they focus on charisma: to what extent is Barack Obama’s unique mix of political passion and a cool demeanor the source of his political appeal? Referring to Max Weber’s model of charismatic leadership, Calhoun notes that Obama has the gift of making us see him as someone who stands outside the traditional structures of government-and therefore someone who can help Americans break the “iron cage” of bureaucracy, politics-as-usual and dominant social roles.

Click here to listen to the discussion.  Also, here’s a CFP for the Lighthearted Philosophers Society. Continue reading

Guilt by Association: Obama and Wright


A few weeks ago Stanley Fish wrote this in his column Think Again:

Renunciation of a position you no longer hold and now consider to be profoundly in error may be helpful to your psychological health. Renouncing a group from which you have broken away may serve the useful purpose of warning others away from the dangers you have now escaped. Denouncing is a bit different. Usually we denounce our opponents, not our friends or associates or loved ones (unless we are living in a totalitarian state where denunciations are offered as proof of loyalty). So it seems overly dramatic to denounce a supporter because he or she has uttered an opinion you find distasteful. Better to say something mild and nuanced – I don’t agree with that, but I’m not going to turn my back on someone because of a few unfortunate remarks – and get on with the real business at hand. That is what Obama did in his justly praised speech.

These days Obama has shifted gears. Certainly, Wright has said some um..unfortunate things in the last few days. Today’s NY Times editorial says it all:

In the last few days, in a series of shocking appearances, he embraced the Rev. Louis Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism. He said the government manufactured the AIDS virus to kill blacks. He suggested that America was guilty of “terrorism” and so had brought the 9/11 attacks on itself.

The first two claims caused me to raise my eyebrows, the last claim is pretty boring at this point. Certainly, given the symbolism that 9/11 wields such a claim would make a slick politician like Obama rather nervous. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton’s Inner Tracy Flick


This is a funny video via Slate. The premise: “Don’t you just hate when some upstart comes along and threatens your best-laid plans? We were struck by how well one of Reese Witherspoon’s monologues from the film Election fits the narrative of Campaign 2008.” If you liked the movie Election, this won’t disappoint.

Vocal Impressions: The Candidates


I was driving home the other day listening to NPR (who’s the more pretentious one now Mikhail?) when I heard the tail end of a segment on All Things Considered called Vocal Impressions:

“Vocal Impressions” is a listener contest where we play a voice and you write about it. This time, we asked you to consider the voices of some of the people seeking the presidency of the United States. Listeners’ descriptions of the candidates’ voices reflected a healthy degree of insight, playfulness and skepticism.

Here are some of my favorites:

John McCain’s voice was described as “An undertaker explaining to the family why grandma’s funeral will cost $15,000,” as well as, “Casey Kasem announcing for the 10th straight week that your least favorite song is still No. 1.”

Barack Obama’s voice was described as “A glass of pinot noir with a Ph.D. in philosophy,” although I’d change that one to “a glass of chardonnay with a Ph.D. in English,” and “A public address system at a retail store when there’s a clean-up on aisle three.”

Hillary Clinton’s voice was described as “Lucy from Peanuts, home from college on her way to grad school, still berating Linus and Charlie Brown,” and “The sex ed teacher talking about abstinence.’

You can read more descriptions of McCain, Clinton and Obama, as well as descriptions of the voices of Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee here.