I confess to not knowing who Herman Cain was until the other day, when he announced he was forming a presidential exploratory committee. I had heard his name, but I didn't know anything about him. The more I read about him, the more interesting he seems.
But Cain is a Republican and is black, and is a conservative and Tea Party supporter, so it was inevitable that he immediately would be targeted even though at this moment he appears to be an extreme long shot.
And so Cain has been targeted, right out of the gate. The Atlantic already is playing the race card against Cain by suggesting that when Cain was CEO of Godfather Pizza, the chain ran a "mildly racist" television commercial.
The Atlantic article was authored by Joshua Green, Senior Editor, but as the text of the article makes clear, it was a collective editorial assignment:
"After posting this profile of Herman Cain, the Tea Party-backed, African-American former CEO of Godfather's pizza and current radio talk-show host who just launched a presidential exploratory committee...(pause for breath)...some of us at the magazine got to wondering how the rest of the GOP field would react to Cain's challenge. The first thing you do with an unknown opponent is see what's out there on the internet. Curious about Cain's tenure at Godfather's Pizza, some of us started poking around YouTube for old commercials. It's safe to say that 1980s pizza ads were pretty wacky affairs (remember the Noid?) and hard to imagine one of them becoming an issue now--but not impossible. Anyway, this 1988 Godfather's ad, starring the "The Studney Twins"--one black, one white--stood in a class by itself. Let's just say it does little to temper racial stereotypes*"
The allegation of "mild racism" is interesting. I assume that the literati at The Atlantic are referring to the demeaning caricature which plays upon stereotypes of a racial group.
And I agree with The Atlantic.
I take deep offense at the presentation of the fat, doofus-looking middle aged white guy in the commercial. The shirt-button-popping, dumb-as-a-door-knob, heart-attack-waiting-to-happen caricature has a racially tinged subtext, if not a "mildly racist" text.
Isn't that the "mild racism" to which The Atlantic folks were referring? After all, Herman Cain is black, so The Atlantic editors would not possibly suggest, in a very backhanded way, that Herman Cain allowed his company to express "mild racism" towards blacks, would they?
Oh yes they would.
Note the asterisk at the end of The Atlantic article. That asterisk led to this footnote:
"*I did some Googling, and the ad appears to be the handiwork of a pair of mulleted, twentysomething white guys."And as we all know, mulleted white guys are inherently racist against blacks in the eyes of those who feel the need to point out that someone is a mulleted white guy. "Mulleted white guys" were the "bitter clingers" of the 1980s.
So the footnote leads me to conclude that The Atlantic must be referring to the presentation of the black guy in the commercial, who reminds me of Jimmy Walker from the late 1970s television show Good Times. I guess that is the "mildly racist" part.
Two wacky, over-the-top caricatures in a pizza commercial. Why is one funny, and the other "mildly racist"?
Or maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe both characters are "mildly racist." This race card stuff is very confusing.
Regardless, take a look at this demeaning presentation of middle-aged white guys in another Godfather's commercial. There seems to be a pattern of pizza-encrusted anti-middle-aged-white-guy-ism prejudice running throughout Godfather's advertising:
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