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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Night Card Game (The Atlantic Plays The Race Card Against Herman Cain, Mildly)

This is the latest in a series on the use of the race card for political gain:

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:
The Wacky, Mildly Racist Godfather's Pizza Ad That Could Affect the GOP Primary
"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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  1. If he has anyone on his committee named Abel, would that be inciting people to violence?

  2. Does anyone on the Left do anything besides look for ways to smear the Conservatives........and then lie and say all the hate and vitriol is on the Right? ....and get paid for it?!

    OK - following this (il)logic, the show Good Times is now racist because JJ was a caricature of an African American male, not an actor performing his part? (And, of course, Norman Lear, the creator, is a racist because he was the one who produced the show and created the characters.) Is that not the same logic?!

    And an African American CEO is racist against his own race because of a commercial character similar to JJ?

    You just can't make this stuff up!

  3. It is truly a shame that your first introduction to Herman Cain was related to such heinous insult. I find him to be a compelling candidate. I would go so far as to say I am a fan. He certainly fills a niche space within the conservative/TEA party movement. The question is does this appeal draw independents, african americans (blacks), and women. Not sure about that, but he is a compelling speaker....

  4. So a guy that I never heard of, is being made fun of by the Atlantic, and I see a commercial whose most offensive elements are the powder blue leisure suits. And without their supposed hit piece, I would never have looked into Cain.

    You can't pay for that kind of publicity.

  5. @Owen, LOL!

    @Unlikely, "compelling speaker" is all well and good, but how well qualified for the job is he? We can see right now what happens when oratorial talent takes precedence over actual competence.

  6. 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.

    Because, of course, a bunch of college-educated white guys at a left-wing magazine have all experienced racism first-hand, and are exactly the right people to sniff it out in all its forms and to lecture us on its pernicious effects.

  7. It certainly would be interesting to see him against Obama for the presidency. If he can get through the next two years with the leftists, that, alone, should qualify him for the presidency.

  8. I listen to Herman Cain most week nights in my basement while working on my golf swing here in a northern suburb of Atlanta and I have never detected a tinge of racism in Herman's rhetoric or demeanor. I am getting sick and tired of the perpetual racialist angles we seem to want to find in anyone who ventures into the public arena. GOOD GRIEF FOLKS, IT WAS JUST A COMMERCIAL and I don't recall anyone accusing Godfather's Pizza of being racist when the commercials ran; though I could be wrong.

    Let's take a deep breath and look at Herman's life story (impressive to say the least)and quit this self destructive road we are on as a country concerning the issue of race.

    Isn't it interesting how we continually talk about race and gender in this country and those are the two human characteristics that we, as human beings, had no control over when we were born. Hmmm......

  9. I am impressed at the speed with which the attack against Mr. Cain was mounted, and from which CHAOS outlet. Expect an enemy to do what they should and one is rarely disappointed.

    It means CHAOS has done its research and has dossiers -- assume them to cover every possible opposition candidate -- more or less full of items ready to trickle out as a campaign of attrition.

    From the fact that the majority of conservative observers think the liar's speech in Tucson had some good intent if not effect, the fact that a self-promoting liar and tea-boy was *elected* to head the RNC, and the fact that Congressional Republicans have swooned into the trap of "aggressive messianic collectivism" (phrase by Lileks, employed so by me) for the liar's State of the Campaign Together We Thrive Speech, I estimate CHAOS has the 2012 election and many, many more won.

    Americans almost universally cannot tell when they are falling into collectivist nullity. The reasons are known. It is a habit of mind now unthinkingly accepted, habitually sought. CHAOS has to be pleased.

    I don't want to hear anyone complain about John McCain falling into the trap -- and it was a trap -- of suspending campaign to "deal with the financial crisis." The whole Republican just fell into the same collectivist trap, and as before for the benefit of one who hates them!

    Together We Thrive is almost as potent a lie as Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The two phrases mean the same: unrestrained looting by an ever-shifting oligarchy of lascivious adulterers. "The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape." (William S.)

    Megan McCardle disgraces herself working for The Atlantic. More to the point, she exhibits the dullness of her intellect.

    The campaign against white males was already in spate by the 90s. It went then under the name "diversity training." Godfather Pizza used it, as shown. It was, in those days, "black racism" and homosexualism directed against "white males," the one's MLK's grandson said are the enemy of "the black man" while standing in a church next to then-VP Gore.

    The truth is every "black American" is a white man with dark skin. Or if one prefer, every "white American" is a black man with light skin. Americans are all white with various hues. Or if one prefer, Americans are all black with various hues. I don't give a damn which one prefers. They're the same.

    What I do care about, and hate, is segmenting, separating, defining out and away and then collectivizing artificially, because that is always for one purpose only, and it is evil: tyranny. The goal of CHAOS and all its organs, including The Atlantic, is oligarchic tyranny ... and not by white men with dark hues, or dark men with white hues, but by individuals of an entirely different orientation.

  10. Backbending PC just exposes our less seemly parts for all to see and dulls the wit.

    These Godfather spots make me laugh despite reinforcing the stereotype of white men as rhythmless stiffs and humorless, old bungling crackers.

  11. Now I want to get a Godfather's Pizza. Seems like mostly a midwest chain. There aren't many of them here in the People's Republic of California, and the nearest one to me is almost 40 minutes away. :-( Maybe Mr. Cain knew better than to open too many locations in this business-friendly People's State, and his successors have since concurred.