Los Angeles Times columnist proves that there are zombies

If you’ve been trolling the internet at all the lost couple of days, you’re aware by now that Christopher Knight, who has what is apparently a paying gig at the Los Angeles Times, has taken umbrage at a political cartoon likening the profligate Mrs. Obama to Marie Antoinette, who was herself no slouch at spending other people’s money.  If you haven’t heard about this kerfuffle, let me lead you through it.

First, here’s the original Marie Antoinette portrait and the companion political cartoon:

Michelle Antoinette

And second, Christopher Knight’s fevered fulminations:

A baldly racist depiction of First Lady Michelle Obama that appeared Tuesday on a right-wing website is based on a 1775 portrait of Marie Antoinette by Jean-Baptiste André Gautier-Dagoty (1740-1786). The full-length painting hangs outside Paris in the Palace of Versailles.

The Internet image grafts Obama’s face onto Gautier-Dagoty’s lavish depiction of the French queen, dressed in full regalia. It also replaces the draped left arm of the young monarch, then barely 20, with a muscular black arm and shifts the position of the right hand to place it in front of a world globe.

The caricature of Obama as a profligate queen relies on the racist stereotype of an “uppity Negro,” which emerged among slave masters in an earlier American era. Obama, born into a working-class Chicago family whose roots are traced to the pre-Civil War South, graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, prior to holding several high-level positions in the academic and private sectors.

The racist image appeared Tuesday on the right-wing blog Gateway Pundit; the slur was later called out by Media Matters for America. A post by Gateway blogger Jim Hoft paired the picture with a clip of the first lady’s guest appearance on a forthcoming episode of “iCarly,” a Nickelodeon sit-com. In the script, Obama commends the cast for their support of military families. Responding to a cast member who mistakenly addresses her as “your excellency,” the script has Obama jokingly reply, “I kinda like it.”

The doctored painting also turned up in August 2010 on the right-wing Instapundit website, where it apparently originated.

You can read the rest here, if you want a laugh and have a strong stomach.

I’m not usually moved to comment on MSM articles (too many comments mean mine get buried, a dreadful fate for an egotist), but this time I couldn’t resist.  Here, in its entirety, is my comment:

Dear Mr. Knight: I’ve pretty much ignored the whole zombie phenomenon, thinking it’s kind of stupid to fear the living dead. (I find the actual living much more frightening.) Your post, however, is causing me to rethink my rejection of the zombie trope, because you have just provided living (or, rather, undead) proof that zombies are actually sucking people’s brains out.

Is it possible that you’re unaware of Marie Antoinette’s reputation for living extravagantly while the ordinary people around her starved in the street? And are you unable to make the connection between Marie Antoinette’s reputation (and she was Austrian, by the way, not African American) and the fact that Michelle Obama just recently went on a $4 million tax payer funded vacation, while wearing $1,200 sundresses, even as Americans have been struggling desperately with unemployment and rising prices? For the informed mind (or just the living mind), the comparisons are inevitable, appropriate and non-racist.

Sherlock Holmes famously said that “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Since it must be impossible for a major publication such as the Los Angeles Times to have hired an idiot, the improbable truth we are dealing with is that, since being hired, you have had your brain sucked out by zombies.

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  • Wolf Howling

    Lollllll . . . a fine retort, Ms. BWR.  I was wondering how zombies related to the overheated and incoherent rantings of Mr. Knight.  I didn’t realize that I was reading from Knight of the Living Dead.

  • Ron19

    When I first saw the article, I had to read the explanation in the text to figure out why it was racist.

    When First Lady Hillary Clinton did a pose mimicking Lincoln’s pose in a picture taken in front of the picture of him hanging on the wall behind her, was that “racist” also?  Was she an “uppity white?”

  • http://bookish-deb.blogspot.com debbiemac55

    This is pretty much how it’s going to be for the next 11 months. I don’t see how an accurate depiction of the First Lady is racist. There is nothing exaggerated in that image. Placing the hand ont he front of the globe is racist? Odd. But as we surely learned from 2008 onward, any criticism, parody, satire of either Obama is by definition “racist.” Contrast that picture to the infamous one of Condie Rice. No racism there!

    Your retort is spot on.  

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    Well done!

    But we will soon find out that zombies are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and hence are guaranteed lifetime employment. 

  • Leah

    Ah Christopher Knight. As a LACMA docent I’ve been ‘trained’ to hate him since he rarely says anything nice about LACMA. The Getty gets more kudos from him.
    But I must tell you his reader feel exactly the same about Mooch’lle. They have no problem bashing Palin’s baby or Santorum grieving over his lost child – but any criticism of the O’s is only racism.

  • Libby

    Great comment, Book! The story itself is so ridiculous that you have to wonder if it was only printed as link bait for a dying publication, or like a troll’s comments, to direct the conversation away from Obama’s recent non-recess recess appointments.

  • pst314

    Bob Hope understood this. long ago.

  • socratease

    Ace has a great smackdown of this today.

  • Charles Martel

     
    You can always tell when you’re dealing with a leftist because his suppressed racism inevitably bubbles up. It’s obvious to me that Mr. Knight gets a certain frisson from using the forbidden N word—Negro. Oh, shades of being 10 when using naughty words was such a thrill!
     
    But the pith of Mr. Knight’s racism is as debbiemac55 senses: Ns are not quite human, therefore are not subject to the foibles, frailties, and failures that afflict Mr. Knight’s species. His plea is implicit: Would we satirize or criticize a chimp for bad behavior? Then how can we criticize Michelle?

  • Michael Adams

    Anyone  in the South, like my mother’s family, lazy but smart,  would know about geese. My great grandparents, the last farmers in the family, kept geese pastured in the cotton fields, because geese will eat the grass and weeds, but not the woody cotton stalks.  This cut the hoeing by more than half, but someone, usually my great grandmother, had to look after the geese. When it rains, the geese look up, with their mouths open, which get filled with water, drowning the goose. Thus. we frequently cite the proverb, “A goose wakes up in a new world every morning.” This was especially significant within the family, because a goodly bit of the time spent not hoeing was used for reading history. For the past fifty-plus years, this proverb succinctly expressed the contempt we felt for people who are ignorant of history. Now come the young ignorati, the Ezra Kleins and Knights,  who have rarely met a real racist, and certainly never knew a slave, who foam at the mouth, or maybe gargle rain water, telling us about all that racism out there. They don’t know goose $h1+.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Photoshopping skills have become much better since 2000.

  • MacG

    Regarding the muscular arm interpreted as uppity I must say that when I really looked at the art nouveau and saw the arm I had to laugh because Michell’s arms were about all the women of the MSM could blather on about when she first entered the limelight. “And her arms! They’re so strong!”  ‘Did you SEE her ARMS!? It was oft repeated with such passion I thought that all of them turned gay for a minute. :)

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Maybe that’s just Leftist mental self destructive conditioning from their death cult.

     

  • http://callanprimer.com kali