Life imitates . . . my blog?! *UPDATED*

I regularly read James Taranto’s Best of the Web and always enjoy his “Life imitates the Onion” or “Life imitates South Park” shticks.  Imagine my surprise today, when I realized that, this time around, life is imitating a very silly satire I did at my blog almost exactly one year ago.

In September 2010, Marin conservatives gathered at a “Groupapalooza” to learn about conservative organizations in and near Marin County.  (I know it’s hard to believe that there are conservatives and conservative organizations  in and around Marin County, but we conservatives are a hardy, if somewhat outnumbered, breed.)

I attended the Groupapalooza and had a great and giddy time mingling with like-minded spirits.  This induced such a spirit of frivolity in me that, when I got back to my computer, I wrote my follow-up post from the point of view of a young Progressive journalist.  As part of this write-up, I threw in a paragraph in which my imaginary progressive journalist discusses her “friendships” with oppressed people:

Although no one manning these various tables [with information about conservative causes and candidates] was overtly hostile, I could feel them look me over, just as if they actually knew that I have a black friend.  Or I had a black friend.  Well, to be perfectly honest (because I am nothing if not honest), my mail carrier is black and I always say “hello” to him.  I’m also very close to my Hispanic housekeeper, Rosa.  (Or is it Flora?  I always forget because, to tell the truth — and I always tell the truth — I try to stay away when she cleans ’cause it’s kind of uncomfortable to have to stop and talk to someone who scrubs your toilet, you know?)

Imagine my surprise to learn today that my silly social satire has been on-upped by reality and, funnily enough, it was James Taranto who brought it to my attention.  He writes about a spat between two liberals, with the chromatic liberal taking the achromatic liberal to task for having the temerity to call the former a friend in a way that was clearly racially condescending.  (Yes, I’m confused too.)  Here’s how Taranto sums it up:

Yesterday we noted that The Nation’s Melissa Harris-Perry was accusing white liberals of abandoning President Obama for racially invidious reasons. This prompted a defensive and very long response from one white liberal, Joan Walsh, who began by stipulating that she and Harris-Perry are friends:

When I say Melissa Harris-Perry is my friend, I don’t say that rhetorically, or ironically; we are professional friends, we have socialized together; she has included me on political round tables; I like and respect her enormously. That’s why I think it’s important to engage her argument, and I’ve invited her to reply.

And reply she did:

I was taken aback that Walsh emphasized the extent of our friendship. Walsh and I have been professionally friendly. We’ve eaten a few meals. I invited her to speak at Princeton and I introduced her to my literary agent. We are not friends. Friendship is a deep and lasting relationship based on shared sacrifice and joys. We are not intimates in that way.

Take that, Joan! Note that Walsh and Harris-Perry are in agreement about the facts of their association, they disagree only over what to call it.

It seems to us that Walsh merely meant to suggest that she meant her criticisms of Harris-Perry in a spirit of goodwill. But Harris-Perry doesn’t stop at renouncing friendship with Walsh. She accuses Walsh of employing a “common strategy of argument about one’s racial innocence: the ‘I have black friends’ claim.” Harris-Perry has twisted Walsh’s olive branch into a racially invidious provocation. With friends like these . . .

If life is going to imitate art, I wish it would do so in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, rather than merely ridiculous.

UPDATE:  And while we’re on the subject of racism, Zombie (or, dare I say it, my friend Zombie, whom I’ve never actually met or spoken with, but still really like and respect) looks at the cupcake kerfuffle in at UC Berkeley, a place that is always agitated about everything but actual learning.

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  • Gringo

    Perhaps the most accurate definition of their relationship was that they were Facebook friends. :)
    In one sense, it is cruel and unusual punishment to poke fun at Joan Walsh. She has a talent for putting her foot in her mouth. She was once  dismayed to find out that her SAT scores were as low as Dubya’s.  She also said of former Congressman Weiner, “At least he’s not a hypocrite,” which is a an interesting description of someone who claimed he had been hacked- which is not the only reason for calling him a hypocrite.
    Joan Walsh has played the race card on a number of occasions. One time she played  the race card  was in attacking Newt Gingrich for  saying, “What we need is a president, not an athlete.Shooting three point shots may be clever, but it doesn’t put anybody to work.” Sounds like common sense to me, considering we have a POTUS who spends more time playing golf or attending fundraisers than he does at governing. He also plays basketball.
    The Daily Kos article has a good link on Joan Walsh playing the race card in analyzing the results of a  Gallup Poll Obamacare, where she  condemns whites for  having the opinion  they will not benefit as much from Obamacare. Howcum? Because they are more likely to already have insurance.  Like duh, Joanie. But to Joanie Baloney, pointing out the obvious shows whites are racist.
    For all that Joan Walsh has the Chevy Chase approach to race relations- “You are racist- and I am not”-   it must have been a shock for her to get such a response  from a black person Joan Walsh considered a “friend.”  
    As many have pointed out , many libs see race and diversity issues as  areas where they can prove their  goodness, that they are not like those evil racist Republicans. For many libs. minorities are cardboad props, not actual people. The response Joan Walsh got  shows that for all that she considers herself “enlightened” on race,  in many respects she doesn’t have a clue. 

  • Mike Devx

    I want to highlight a paragraph from the full Melissa Harris-Perry link.  It’s really instructive in explaining why they persist in playing the race card:
    In a nation with the racial history of the United States I am baffled by the idea that non-racism would be the presumption and that it is racial bias which must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. More than 100 years of philosophical, psychological and sociological research that begins, at least, with the work of W.E.B. Du Bois has mapped the deeply entrenched realities of racial bias on the American consciousness. If anything, racial bias, not racial innocence is the better presumption when approaching American political decision-making. Just fifty years ago, nearly all white Democrats in the US South shifted parties rather than continuing to affiliate with the party of civil rights. No one can prove that this decision was made on the basis of racial bias, but the historical trend is so clear as to require mental gymnastics to imagine this was a choice not motivated by race.

    As you can see, she is convinced that all opinions that people hold (that are counter to her own enlightened ones of course!) should be assumed to be racially motivated.  While this is not a charge of a crime, it is still a charge, and you assumed guilty by Ms. Harris-Perry unless you can prove your innocence.  Nice one, Ms. Harris-Perry.

    On the party-switching, all I can say is, she is living in the past.  Her best example comes from 50 years ago, when, yes, racial attitudes were much more hostile?  As a counterpoint, let me state that attitudes towards gays were universally more hostile, too; yet today there are particularly among younger generations widespread acceptance of gays.  Things change a lot in 50 years, Ms. Harris-Perry.  I accuse HER of living in the past.  Racial attitudes today are nothing at all like they were in the early 60’s.

    The assumption of racism is a false one.

    How does Ms. Harris-Perry handle the fact that many outspoken opponents of Barack Obama unabashedly admire Col. Allen West, economist Thomas Sowell, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and many others who happen to be black?  (And allow me to gently point out to Ms. Harris-Perry that Obama is only half-black, where I believe all of these others are more, um, fully black.  How does this lead her to assume that we must be pre-judged to be racists?  The argument doesn’t hold ANY water at all.

    Are there racists out there?  Sure.  Is there still an undercurrent of racism in this country?  Sure.  Show me a country where there isn’t, Ms. Harris-Perry.  There are also undercurrents of parochialism and even xenophobia in every country.  And I’d maintain we’re doing one hell of a lot better than nearly every other country out there in moving past them.

    So, the woman, like most intellectual liberals, is firmly stuck in the past, and assumes, constantly, that people’s opinions are primarily based on racism.  She see’s the world through the prism of racism, first.  She can’t help it.  And that is why they will continually raise the race card.  They can’t help it!  It’s practically in their genes.

    Which is good news for us, because for the vast majority of people out there, her worldview is poisonous and wrong, and extremely insulting to them.

    So, Ms. Harris-Perry, continue to shoot yourself in the foot.  Over and over and over.  You’re only helping us, and we thank you for it.

  • Gringo

    Ms. Harris-Perry, Courtesy of Mike Dev:
    Just fifty years ago, nearly all white Democrats in the US South shifted parties rather than continuing to affiliate with the party of civil rights. No one can prove that this decision was made on the basis of racial bias, but the historical trend is so clear as to require mental gymnastics to imagine this was a choice not motivated by race.
    The best refutation of her claims that I know of is an article titled The Myth of the Racist Republicans. The first inroads of the Republican Party were in the peripheral south, such as Virginia, in the Eisenhower years.Republicans were competitive in Presidential elections in the peripheral South from 1952 onward- before Brown Vs. Board of Education and the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Northern migrants to the South were more likely to be Republican than those born in the South.
    In sum, the GOP’s Southern electorate was not rural, nativist, less educated, afraid of change, or concentrated in the most stagnant parts of the Deep South. It was disproportionately suburban, middle-class, educated, younger, non-native-Southern, and concentrated in the growth-points that were, so to speak, the least “Southern” parts of the South. This is a very strange way to reincarnate George Wallace’s movement.
    As the South became less racist, it also became more Republican.
    Only in the 1980s did more white Southerners self-identify as Republicans than as Democrats, and only in the mid-1990s did Republicans win most Southern House seats and become competitive in most state legislatures. So if the GOP’s strength in the South only recently reached its zenith, and if its appeal were primarily racial in nature, then the white Southern electorate (or at least most of it) would have to be as racist as ever. But surely one of the most important events in Southern political history is the long-term decline of racism among whites.
    For those who consider the South to be unchanging  and unanimously racist, consider this. The article points out that Billy Graham, the South’s most famous pastor, was openly  integrationist.
    “Before the Supreme Court’s [Brown v. Board] decision of 1954, the southern Presbyterians. . . and, shortly after the decision, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) overwhelmingly passed resolutions supporting desegregation and calling on all to comply with it peacefully. . . . By 1958 all SBC seminaries accepted black applicants.”
    Things are not as black and white as many assume.
    Ms. Harris-Perry needs to learn some history.
     More at the link.