It’s always fun to watch liberal heads explode. This happens when their political fantasies smash head-on into reality. Samuel L. Jackson is struggling through a cognitive dissonance moment as he struggles to avoid the inevitable conclusion that Obama is an empty suit who offers nothing but a blank slate on which liberals can inscribe their dreams.
What ostensibly outraged Jackson is the way the President, who managed to attend expensive prep schools and Ivy League schools without giving any indication that he actually learned anything, likes to talk as if he’s from the streets. Jackson went ballistic in a Playboy Magazine interview. To him, Obama’s sloppy speech is unforgivable in a role model.
Incidentally, Jackson’s rant is R-rated because of obscenities, and is riddled with slang expressions such as “ain’t”. It doesn’t seem to occur to the 64-year-old actor that he too might be a role model, and that clean speech is as important as grammatical speech when it comes to raising up-and-coming generations.
Jackson’s obsession with having people other than himself speak respectably and respectfully happened when he was a child, and an insurance salesman named “Mr. Venable” came weekly to the door to collect his grandmother’s insurance premiums. When Venable referred to Jackson’s grandmother as “Pearl,” the youthful Jackson launched into an obscenity-filled tirade against the man for daring to call his aged grandmother by her first name.
Jackson boasts that, on Twitter, he loves to be a grammar policeman (language alert):
I’ll be reading scripts and the screenwriter mistakes “your” for “you’re.” On Twitter someone will write, “Your an idiot,” and I’ll go, “No, you’re an idiot,” and all my Twitterphiles will go, “Hey, Sam Jackson, he’s the grammar police.” I’ll take that. Somebody needs to be. I mean, we have newscasters who don’t even know how to conjugate verbs, something Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow never had problems with. How the fuck did we become a society where mediocrity is acceptable?
With that opening, interviewer Stephen Rebello can’t resist asking Jackson about Obama’s speech habits – specifically the way he “consciously drop[s] gs off the ends of words to sound like Joe Average.” It turns out that Jackson finds appalling the fact that a Hawaii-raised, Ivy League-educated president constantly tries to prove his black street creds. (Again, language alert.)
First of all, we know it ain’t because of his blackness, so I say stop trying to “relate.” Be a leader. Be fucking presidential. Look, I grew up in a society where I could say “It ain’t” or “What it be” to my friends. But when I’m out presenting myself to the world as me, who graduated from college, who had family who cared about me, who has a well-read background, I fucking conjugate.
It’s nice to know that, even in the midst of angry, profane diatribes, Jackson hangs on to conjugating. We’re sure young people everywhere are ignoring the swear words and picking up the grammar tips.
It’s all okay, though, that Jackson is that upset about Obama’s grammar. This is a form of what the psychiatrists would call displacement – that is, Jackson cannot acknowledge the real source of his anger, so he’s directing it to something fairly inconsequential.
Given enough time, Jackson might finally own up that his explosive anger about the letter “g” and subject-verb relationships masks the realization that President Obama may well go down as the worst president ever in American history, the man who destroyed America’s economy, broke down her borders, and paved the way for decades of alternately simmering and explosive existential wars between Muslims and the west all over the world. With that reality, no wonder Jackson is hiding behind grammar.