27 January 2008

Barack Hussein [Bad Satire] Obama

Thanks to those of you returning to OL&L after a long absence and for adding your comments to the ongoing and building dialogue.

Yesterday's post prompted a castigating response in comments. We were taken to task for always using Senator Obama's full-name--Barack Hussein Obama. The commenter assumed, as many of you may have as well, that we do so to inflame populist conservative opinion against his candidacy. We don't mean to scare away negative critique of our blog or those who disagree with us, but if this particular commenter had read our posts for any length of time, he would know we don't buy or sell any of that nativist, anti-Muslim rhetoric.

No, rather our use of Senator Obama's middle name is an admittedly lame attempt at satire. Those following the campaign will know that liberal pundits use Obama's middle name at least as much as conservative ones. Click here, here, here, here, here, or here if you don't believe us. We even used ultra-liberal website Media Matters to further prove the point.

We find it mildly amusing, bordering on humorous, that liberals--the open-minded, enlightened half of American society--pound on the Hussein key as much or more than Rush Limbaugh (we only found one Limbaugh reference to Obama's middle name). We believe this has something to do with the fact that liberals tend to take their politics a little more personally than Republicans do. [huge generalization alert]

What's even more interesting is the fact that both frontrunners (if we can call them that, now that the gap has narrowed) in the Democratic primary have middle or third names they'd rather voters forgot. Does anyone remember that Hillary always used to be Rodham-Clinton? But now that she wants to get elected, it's simply Clinton AND, according to Drudge, "love" drove Bill bat-crazy in South Carolina, prompting his latest outburst. All of this to prove their mutual love and affection, and the normalcy of their marriage (hasn't it been disproved beyond a shadow of a doubt? Clinton Marriage, read: union of political, power-grabbing convenience).

Therein lies the satire and by explaining it all, it's completely lost its amusement. That's the thing with humor, once explained, everyone kind of says, "oh, how nice." If you look back at our posts, we refer to Senator Clinton as Hillary Rodham-Clinton and Senator Obama as Barack Hussein Obama. Again, not because we want to inflame populist conservative opinion (longtime readers know we detest populist politics) but rather to satirize the two candidates and their party's supposedly enlightened, open-minded moral condescension. Our friend the commenter further proves our point with his own name-calling.

Readers would be justified in saying that our humor was lame or too subtle, but mistaking it for anti-whatever is baseless. We wouldn't care if Barack's name were Barrack Saddam Hussein Osama bin Laden Adolf Hitler Joseph Stalin Obama, and neither should anyone else. Our point in using his middle name is not to conjure up an image of Saddam Hussein and scare the Republican base. If reading or hearing his middle name makes you think he's a Wahhabist terrorist/sympathizer, you've probably been watching too much 24.

And besides all that, we're tired of liberals thinking that conservatives are stupid enough to believe anything based on Barack's middle name. We don't know any conservatives who believe Barack is some 5th cousin of Saddam or a closet islamofascist.

We'll continue referring to Senators Clinton and Obama by their full names, now not simply for satirical purposes (though they remain) but more in protest of those who take it personally. If they want to dredge up Romney's or any other Republican candidates' sacred, personal religious beliefs and make fun of them, well, we'll let the reader decide who is acting in poor taste.

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Jerry Isenbaum said...

I didn't think I was making fun of any sacred beliefs. I was demonstrating how vulnerable Romney would be to similar attacks- the ones you tried to downplay and re-characterize as "satire". Well, the critics of Romney would apply the same "satire" to their criticism and would hardly consider "personal beliefs" free from examination. Re-read the former post and try not to get defensive- you won't find any "making fun" this time around.

Man with Whip said...

Good point, Mr. Isenbaum. You were simply warning the writer of the potential for even worse name-calling populism with Romney than with Obama. While Mr. Lybbert may think his subtle satire is clever, too many have no tolerance for that sort of thing, satire or not.

Jerry Isenbaum said...

Simply put, I called the "Hussein" stuff out for what it was and then tried to show how similar tactics of creating suspicion can and will apply to the writer's beloved Romney. Note: I'm pulling for Romney too.