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Not funny

Long-time Republican Party of Orange County committeewoman Marilyn Davenport sent an email to a few friends (presumably just to her white friends and not her black friends), reveals Orange County’s OC Weekly newspaper. Somehow the email got beyond her select few friends and has appeared as far away as The Telegraph in the UK. Why the stir? The email had a family portrait of monkeys with Barack Obama’s head superimposed on the infant monkey, accompanied by the caption: “Now you know why no birth certificate.”

The unrepentant Davenport rebuffs calls for her resignation, calling whoever leaked the email a “coward” and saying that she is not a racist, she has black friends (at least she used to), and that the photo was just intended to be funny. I didn’t find it funny, but I did find it revealing. I have mixed feelings about publishing the photo, but the news is the news.

Photo credit: OCWeekly

This is the second racist email from a local Republican leader this week. In Virginia Beach, Republican Party Chair Dave Bartholomew forwarded an email joke comparing African Americans to dogs.

Just for the record, I always thought George W. Bush looked like a chimp. That brings us to the following question: why is the preceding incident not funny, but the following one hilarious?

Click for more Bush/Monkey images

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59 Responses to Not funny

  1. avatar
    Fred April 17, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    So Dr. Conspiracy. What exactly is your point?? You seem to have made it in the first part then seem to have done a 180 in the last part. Can’t make up your mind?

  2. avatar
    Izzybella April 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    I don’t find either of them funny. My dad was outraged whenever anyone made fun of Bush. He said that the office deserves respect even if a person does not agree with the sitting president. However, he is is complete opposite when it comes to Obama. The more disgusting and/or racist the jokes, the better. I called him on it, but he says “it’s different because Obama is asking for it.” I am not sure how, but I suspect it is because he dares to be both a Democrat and a non-white person.

  3. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Fred: So Dr. Conspiracy. What exactly is your point?? You seem to have made it in the first part then seem to have done a 180 in the last part. Can’t make up your mind?

    I’m a Gemini.

  4. avatar
    Sef April 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    In answer to your question about the 2nd billboard. It is hilarious because it is true.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Fred: So Dr. Conspiracy. What exactly is your point?? You seem to have made it in the first part then seem to have done a 180 in the last part. Can’t make up your mind?

    The point? The point is to encourage people to think.

    If making up my mind means coming up with a sound byte simple answer, then no, I can’t make up my mind.

  6. avatar
    Scientist April 17, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    Although I thought George Bush was wrong on almost every issue, I was never comfortable with personal attacks. Why are they necessary? And I ask those who don’t like Obama the same question.

  7. avatar
    Daniel April 17, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    “The unrepentant Davenport rebuffs calls for her resignation, calling whoever leaked the email a “coward” and saying that she is not a racist, she has black friends…”

    Ever notice that all racists begin their denial with the “some of my best friends are…” excuse.

    I have come to the conclusion that anyone needing to use that disclaimer has pretty much pegged themselves as actually being a racist.

  8. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    I think that the Bush billboard is funny (and not generally offensive) because it is painting President Bush (and I agree that the office deserves respect even if the man did nothing to earn it [I make an exception in the case of Dick the War Criminal, however…]) as an idiot based on his stated beliefs – if someone says something that makes you think they are an idiot and you tell other people who then also believe that the person is an idiot, what’s wrong with that? You can’t slander someone by accurately representing their position.

  9. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 17, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    As for why the first picture IS offensive, I think that it speaks for itself… (at least to anyone with the slightest bit of understanding of US racial history).

  10. avatar
    Sean April 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Does anyone remember this display:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Esocs9qPRY

    Look at the end when he shows his shame.

  11. avatar
    That Other Mike April 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    Slartibartfast: As for why the first picture IS offensive, I think that it speaks for itself… (at least to anyone with the slightest bit of understanding of US racial history).

    There is a definite history in the US of depicting Black men as inhuman, subhuman, animalistic etc. The same does not apply to rich White guys from Connecticut.

  12. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 17, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    That Other Mike: There is a definite history in the US of depicting Black men as inhuman, subhuman, animalistic etc.The same does not apply to rich White guys from Connecticut.

    I would think that most racial slurs seem inoffensive if you are ignorant of the context in which they have been used in the past. Racists rely on this for cover all of the time. And even if rich white guys from Connecticut had been discriminated against, you still can’t slander someone by accurately representing their position…

  13. avatar
    Suranis April 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    That Other Mike: There is a definite history in the US of depicting Black men as inhuman, subhuman, animalistic etc.The same does not apply to rich White guys from Connecticut.

    Its not just the US. At the turn of the last century the satirical magazine Punch made an industry of depicting Irish people as animals and monkeys. And people are still doing it because it works.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Punch_Anti-Irish_propaganda_%281882%29_Irish_Frankenstein.jpg

    I think that the slight difference between the Obama cartoon and the Bush one is that it portrays bush as he is. They didn’t need to alter him at all. They ahd to alter Obama into something he was not.

    Granted I dont find that one particularly funny either.

  14. avatar
    aarrgghh April 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    one of the two images posted has a degrading socio-historical context, a long chain in which some would prefer to believe they are not a link, while the other image does not:

    “The predominant colonial theory of race was the great chain of being… the idea that human races could be lined up from most superior to most inferior. That is, God, white people, and then an arrangement of non-white people, with blacks at the bottom. Depicted here in this image from 1579, originally published in Rhetorica Christiana by Didacus Valades … “

    “… This next image is a drawing that appeared in Charles White’s “An Account of the Regular Gradation in Man, and in Different Animals and Vegetables” (1799). On the bottom of the image (but the top of the chain) are types of Europeans, Romans, and Greeks. On the top (but the bottom of the chain) are “Asiatics,” “American Savages,” and “Negros.” White wrote: “In whatever respect the African differs from the European, the particularity brings him nearer to the ape.”

  15. avatar
    Romo Cop April 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    In short, it’s victimology.

    The reason why it’s cheapened is that anything that goes against Obama, AND YOU GUYS SHOULD KNOW THIS VERY WELL HERE, is called “racist.”

    Herein lies the problem. Remember the Obama Joker thing? Called racist too.

    It’s all too easy, because just like that clown dem pollster on the John King interview vs. Orly Taitz (regardless of what you think of her) all he could resort to was race and name calling in the end because he could not rebut one of her points.

    It’s one of the sad things of the modern day.

    I’m glad to say that this site, even though I’ve seen it occasionally, is MUCH better than the rest regarding this issue.

    So Kudos to you, Dr. Conspiracy.

  16. avatar
    G April 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Romo Cop: In short, it’s victimology.

    No, not really. If a certain word or image has a long standing association with bigotry for a certain class of people, than such reference should be avoided in respect to that class.

    Simple as that.

    Read aarrgghh’s post above. Monkey/ape/chimp references have a long history of being an offensive slur against blacks. Therefore, the image is clearly inappropriate. Same as the watermelon references also distributed from certain GOP members in the same county when Obama became POTUS. A long racist history is attached to both symbols, so they are both clearly offensive.

    Personally, I found pictures of GWB as a chimp or any Nazi references to be inappropriate and offensive as well. However, pics of GWB as Alfred E. Newman or just simply wearing a dunce cap – now those are fine and can convey the same intent about his appearing stupid at times, without having to resort to apes, etc.

  17. avatar
    G April 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Romo Cop: Herein lies the problem. Remember the Obama Joker thing? Called racist too.

    You see, there’s a certain history of black-face/ white-face imagery there… Hence why that appeared inappropriate to certain folks.

  18. avatar
    kimba April 17, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    Romo Cop: because he could not rebut one of her points.

    He didn’t have to, she made herself look like a jackass. She accused the President of the United States of committing felonies on national television. She held up two documents, one of which violated the terms of use of the search service, the other was obtained illegally. As soon as she said that, John King said the interview was over and her microphone was turned off. It was shameful. She’ll never be on CNN again and the producer who booked her probably got reamed out big time.

    The heart of birtherism is to prey on people’s fear of Pres Obama’s skin color and trying to invent an “otherness” about him. “He’s not one of us.” Birtherism is racist to its core.

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    Speaking only for myself, one of the reasons that I find certain images of George W. Bush funny is because I dislike Bush. I found him arrogant and condescending, and he just rubbed me the wrong way. That all started long ago over his refusal to pardon a Texas convict who was proved innocent through DNA evidence. One of the ways I could discharge my ill feeling was through laughter.

    While I do find some of the Bush/Monkey pictures funny, I do not believe that I would have found the family portrait picture funny if George Bush’s face had been on it instead of Obama. It was too disrespectful, and brought in the family aspect which for me is out of bounds. There is a big difference between “Bush looks like a monkey” and “Bush is a monkey.” I certainly never lied about George Bush, repeated poorly-supported tales, or tried to make him look any worse than he was. Indeed, I actually wrote an article critical of a false story about the Bush administration, and that was about all I had to say about him (well there was the bit about how to change “George W. Bush” into “666” but that was just supposed to be funny).

    My favorite Bush/Monkey cartoon is this one:

    http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/images/blbushmonkey9.htm

    In the article I said that I thought Davenport sending the image was “revealing.” What I think it reveals is the degree of hatred she has for Obama, and judging by the image she chose to express it with, far stronger than anything I ever felt about Bush. Whether it is racist or not, Davenport is striking out at Obama in a nasty way.

  20. avatar
    Fred April 17, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    Izzybella:
    I don’t find either of them funny.My dad was outraged whenever anyone made fun of Bush.He said that the office deserves respect even if a person does not agree with the sitting president.However, he is is complete opposite when it comes to Obama.The more disgusting and/or racist the jokes, the better.I called him on it, but he says “it’s different because Obama is asking for it.”I am not sure how, but I suspect it is because he dares to be both a Democrat and a non-white person.

    With Bush it was funny because it was true. With a black person there are racial connotations which puts it in a whole other league. So it is apples and oranges as far as I’m concerned.

  21. avatar
    DavidH April 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    I don’t think either photo is funny. I hope your question was rhetorical.

  22. avatar
    Sef April 17, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    DavidH:
    I don’t think either photo is funny.I hope your question was rhetorical.

    The first one is not funny. The second one is just very, very sad.

  23. avatar
    Eglenn harcsar April 17, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    I join you in condemning the photo, I just wish you gave me the choice to link by clicking. WE know evil exists, why broadcast it and give it any presence. Withrespect, I urge you to take better ownership of your own rhetorical impulses to use this photo.

    Btw fec looking into 2008 campaign.

  24. avatar
    J. Edward Tremlett April 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    in a perfect world, both would be funny because we wouldn’t have attached subhuman characteristics to people of immediate, sub-Saharan African descent (that is, Black people), and therefore photos making a monkey of Obama would be no more offensive than ones making a monkey of Reagan, Bush, Scott Walker, or any other person who happened to be a member of the racial majority of this country (that is, White people)

    However, we live in an imperfect world. One of our imperfections is that there’s a lot of racism. And because there’s a lot of racism, the photo of Obama as the baby monkey rings alarm bells in our head whereas the one of Bush is just funny, or not funny, depending on your political views, sense of humor, or views on traumatizing innocent simians by comparing them to W.

    I had this conversation once before with someone when the Obama as Curious George t-shirt came out. He steadfastly refused to admit that, from a cultural perspective, anything was wrong with the shirt. And yes, they have the same ears. But there’s also a cultural perspective and history to consider, and you do so at your own peril.

    You don’t believe that, try reclaiming that one, six-letter N-word for the people in a mixed crowd in public. I’ll be over here with the camcorder.

  25. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Eglenn harcsar: I join you in condemning the photo, I just wish you gave me the choice to link by clicking.

    As I said in the article, I hesitated about including the photo. What helped me decide was that it was already all over the Internet. In retrospect, I still think the photo should remain because such things need to be confronted.

  26. avatar
    Black Lion April 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Interesting article…

    Subconscious mental connection between blacks, apes may reinforce subtle discrimination

    March 5th, 2008 in Medicine & Health / Psychology & Psychiatry

    Many U.S. citizens may not hold openly racist beliefs today, but they still may subconsciously link African Americans with apes because people still use words and metaphors that subtly reinforce a less-than-human bias and endorse violence against Blacks, according to a new study.

    “Historical racist images and books dehumanizing African Americans in the 19th and early 20th century relied heavily on the Negro-ape metaphor, which was used to stereotype Blacks as lazy, dim and aggressive,” said lead author Phillip Atiba Goff, assistant professor of psychology at Penn State. “Such dehumanization and animal imagery have been used for centuries to justify violence against many oppressed groups.

    “The images have disappeared from popular culture and from most people’s memory,” he added. “However, after completing six studies, we found strong evidence that Black-ape linkages still influence people subconsciously and impact their judgment particularly in the case of African American suspects and defendants.”

    The study’s findings are published in the paper, “Not Yet Human: Implicit Knowledge, Historical Dehumanization and Contemporary Consequences,” in a recent issue (February) of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

    Goff and fellow researchers Jennifer Eberhardt, associate professor of psychology at Stanford University; Matthew C. Jackson and Melissa J. Williams, graduate students at Penn State and Berkeley, respectively, conducted six studies of college-age students. They found that participants – even those with no stated prejudices or knowledge of the historical images – were quicker to associate Blacks with apes than they were to associate Whites with apes.

    Goff and fellow researchers Jennifer Eberhardt, associate professor of psychology at Stanford University, Matthew C. Jackson and Melissa J. Williams, graduate students at Penn State and Berkeley, respectively, conducted six studies of White college-age students. They found that participants – even those with no stated prejudices or knowledge of the historical images — were quicker to associate Blacks with apes than they were to associate Whites with apes.

    In the first three studies, researchers subliminally flashed Black or White male faces on a screen for a fraction of a second to “prime” the participants, who could identify blurry ape drawings much faster after they were primed with Black faces than with White faces.

    The connection was made only with African American faces; the third study failed to find an ape association with other non-White groups, such as Asians.

    The fourth study showed that the implicit linkage can be subconscious for participants. In the fifth study, the researchers subliminally primed 115 White men with words associated with either apes (such as “monkey,” “chimp,” “gorilla”) or big cats (such as “lion,” “tiger,” “cheetah”). Apes and big cats are associated with violence and Africa.

    The subjects then watched a two-minute video clip, depicting several police officers violently beating a man of undetermined race. A photo of either a White or a Black man was shown at the beginning of the clip to indicate who was being beaten, with a description conveying that, although described by his family as “a loving husband and father,” the suspect had a serious criminal record and may have been high on drugs at the time of his arrest.

    The students were then asked to rate how justified the beating was. Participants who believed the suspect was White were no more likely to condone the beating when they were primed with either ape or big cat words. But those who thought the suspect was Black were more likely to justify the beating if they had been primed with ape words than with big cat words.

    The sixth study showed that in hundreds of news stories from 1979 to 1999 in the Philadelphia Inquirer, African Americans convicted of capital crimes were about four times more likely than Whites convicted of capital crimes to be described with ape-relevant language, such as “barbaric,” “beast,” “brute,” “savage” and “wild.”

    “While the explicit images of Blacks as apes have disappeared from the U.S. media, the images still may continue in coded language,” the researchers said in the study. “Perhaps subtle metaphors that go largely unnoticed in the media continue to have great effect – and even be linked to life-and-death decisions.”

    As recently as the early 1990s, California state police euphemistically referred to cases involving young Black men as N.H.I. – No Humans Involved, according to the study. A police officer involved in the 1991 Rodney King beating had just come from a domestic dispute with a Black couple and referred to it as “something right out of (the movie) Gorillas in the Mist.”

    ” If you look at some political cartoons of Condoleezza Rice, Barack Obama and Colin Powell, you see that they are represented in ape-like caricature,” noted Goff “It is not explicit depiction and therefore not seen as offensive.

    “But not seeing Blacks as humans leads to implicit – or subconscious – bias, leading to support of stereotyping and other forms of discrimination again African Americans,” he said. “Old-fashioned prejudice involves deliberate action and beliefs. By studying implicit knowledge and how it functions, we can study the mechanisms in hopes of remedying dehumanization’s savage consequences.”

    Source: Penn State

    “Subconscious mental connection between blacks, apes may reinforce subtle discrimination.” March 5th, 2008. http://www.physorg.com/news123944737.html

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    DavidH: I don’t think either photo is funny. I hope your question was rhetorical.

    The question was designed to provoke thought, and in that sense it was rhetorical. On the other hand, I do find the Bush sign funny because of the irony factor.

    I only think Bush looks like a chimp, not that he is like a chimp in any other way.

  28. avatar
    Black Lion April 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: As I said in the article, I hesitated about including the photo. What helped me decide was that it was already all over the Internet. In retrospect, I still think the photo should remain because such things need to be confronted.

    Doc, I agree….We need to be reminded that hatred and ignorance still exist out there….And by exposing it to the light, you are doing what is necessary for us to confront it…

  29. avatar
    misha April 17, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Sef:
    In answer to your question about the 2nd billboard.It is hilarious because it is true.

    It’s funny because Bush committed the worst military blunder in US history, a blunder on a par with the Light Brigade. Unfortunately for Bush, he will not have a fashion named after him to take away some of the sting.

    It’s funny because Bush does not believe in evolution, but believes fairy tales.

    It’s funny because 4,447 Americans have died in Iraq; 33,003 have been wounded – many missing eyes, limbs, and 3rd degree burns. It’s funny because 320,000 Vets have brain injuries.

    It’s funny because the Christians of Iraq are facing annihilation, since the secular leaders have been deposed, and Bush and his buddies are doing zero to stop it, and help. Those who are trying to do something are people like Bob Simon.

    It’s funny because: God told me to invade Iraq. – GW Bush.

    It’s funny because Cheney’s cronies got their paws on the oil, and those who died and were maimed got zero.

  30. avatar
    El Diablo Negro April 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    I am considered black (but not 100%) but my mother can pass as Caucasian (her french genes show more). I call her (undercover mother). Many a white person has told told her things about blacks that made her almost wretch. We are talking from 40’s to the present, she still hears this nonsense in 2011.

    Some would think my mother is poisoning my mind by her rhetoric. Its true some blacks just do not like whites. My mom does not hate anyone, she just warned her children about the things that go on when we are not there and what to do be successful (giving us an edge). She never advocated violence.

    Her main teaching was that as an African American, to get a good paying job, I would have be exceptionally better than my white counterpart, not equal. That gave me the impression (at a young age) no one wanted average blacks.

    Growing up, my older sisters had a darker view of whites. They grew up in Brooklyn in the 60’s-70’s and tried to get me angry at whites. It worked…to an extent, I was not just angry at whites…I was angry at everybody, with frequent temper tantrums.

    Today, I work hard to not be that angry little kid. I am a registered independent because I refuse to drink the kool-aid of any faction…political, religious or whatever.

    I don’t think either is funny and there is no place for either of them. The difference is that one attacks lineage and the other attacks intelligence. You can mock my intelligence all day, I may get upset but ill get over it. The moment you throw my parents (who have no reason to be) in the argument..I will be that angry little kid again..and you wont like me when i’m angry. (sorry Hulk)

  31. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 17, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    Eglenn harcsar: Btw fec looking into 2008 campaign.

    Uhh, that’s what the FEC does.

  32. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny April 17, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    misha: It’s funny because Bush committed the worst military blunder in US history, a blunder on a par with the Light Brigade. Unfortunately for Bush, he will not have a fashion named after him to take away some of the sting.

    Most of this off topic, but bear with me.

    Unfortunately for Bush, the military blunder he made, was far, far worse than the Charge of the Light Brigade, which was only a skirmish in a bigger war that the British and their allies won in the end.

    Comparing Iraq to the Crimean War itself may be a better idea, Going into Russia to save Turkey estranged Britain from all the non-Turkish peoples who wanted to leave the ailing Turkish Empire: Serbs, Romanians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Kurds and Arabs. The aftermath of the war was as bad for Britain as Iraq’s for Bush. Whatever was written in the peace treaty, the Crimea became solidly Russian (it still is today, even as a part of Ukraine), the muslims living in Southern Russia close to the Caucasus emigrated to Tuurkey in panic, and the Russian fleet could not be banned from the Black Sea anyway. Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and the Arabs all became independent eventually. Armenia and the Kurds – another story. The only good thing to come out of the Crimean War was the discovery of blood groups and the liberation of the serfs in Russia.

    Some historians credit the British and French attempts to prop up the Turkish Empire with achieving peace in Europe for 99 years (1815 until 1914). But others more astutely point out that it ensured that a terrible war would break out over the division of the spoils when the Empire imploded on itself. Bosnia, anyone. Of course, the fact that many nationalist journalists and poets did not appreciate the terrible loss of the Light Brigade and the irrelevance of the charge, created an atmosphere where the 1914 British and French generals could sacrifice a whole generation of young men to put their toilet seat a few meteres closer to Berlin.

    Personally, I think a more apt comparison for Bush’s mistake in British military would be no, not Arnhem as some are probably thinking now (though Iraq and Arnhem are similar in scope at least) but the Hundred Years War with France. Bush ‘s intervention in Iraq will eventually cost Afghanistan as well.

    On topic: I don’t like either picture, but I find the left one particularly nauseating.

  33. avatar
    misha April 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    Paul Pieniezny: Unfortunately for Bush, the military blunder he made, was far, far worse than the Charge of the Light Brigade, which was only a skirmish in a bigger war that the British and their allies won in the end.

    Thank you. At least Lord Cardigan has a fashion named after him. Bush…snicker.

  34. avatar
    G April 17, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    El Diablo Negro: I don’t think either is funny and there is no place for either of them. The difference is that one attacks lineage and the other attacks intelligence. You can mock my intelligence all day, I may get upset but ill get over it. The moment you throw my parents (who have no reason to be) in the argument..I will be that angry little kid again..and you wont like me when i’m angry. (sorry Hulk)

    Thank you for sharing your personal story. I thought your conclusion (reprinted above) was very poignant and illustrated both the concerns with as well as the differences between both photo situations perfectly.

  35. avatar
    Keith April 17, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: My favorite Bush/Monkey cartoon is this one:

    http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/images/blbushmonkey9.htm

    Where is the ‘monkey’ in that one? That doesn’t even contain an image of a chimp, which is what you seem to be trying to conveying (not monkey). There are silhouettes of possible human ancestor or related apes, but no monkeys and no chimps.

    What are the differences between a monkey and a chimpanzee?

    Thank you for attending today’s lecture, perhaps tomorrow we’ll discuss why there is no such thing as race in human biology; it is a 100% social invention.

  36. avatar
    US Citizen April 17, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    I find it offensive, but not to the point of censorship.
    Sort of like holocaust photos.
    They’re offensive and repulsive, but important to show.
    I don’t think showing them will change anyone’s mind either.
    Racists will laugh and non-racists will be disgusted.
    Saying it’s a joke is just completely lame.
    If I was to show Ms. Davenport’s face superimposed on something she might find personally insulting, she’d see no humor in it either.
    Her lack of recognizing the offensive nature of it says a lot about her values and inner bias.

    One thing that I also see much of is where Obama critics say they’re not racists by saying “he’s half white.”
    But if they saw Obama robbing a liquor store, they’d give the police a description of “black.”
    So it’s disingenuous to chant that they “can’t be racists because he’s half-white” when what they actually see is purely a black man.

    As for the difference in Bush satire vs this, many others here I agree with. The bush photos were not racially motivated.
    They mocked his intelligence or resemblance to a chimp, not his race.
    This Obama photo says nothing about his intelligence, it clearly mocks his race.

  37. avatar
    Slartibartfast April 17, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Keith: Where is the monkey’ in that one?

    It unquestionably contains the image of a great ape (or hominid) – even if the subject of the image is too ignorant to understand that fact (which is what makes it funny).

  38. avatar
    Deborah April 18, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    The billboard of Bush was not motivated by racism like the repulsive email photo depicting a black President as a chimp.

    Bush was incompetent but managed to win enough votes to eek out a Supreme Court appointment thanks to his evangelical base. Bush slashed funding for scientific research and censored inconvenient scientific data while establishing an office of faith based initiatives.

    The billboard is funny because evolution denying religious fundamentalists elected Bush.

  39. avatar
    Lupin April 18, 2011 at 3:56 am #

    In light of the well-documented instances of equating blacks with apes or “missing links” in the past, I do think that the Obama image is frighteningly racist. Easily on a par with antisemitic caricatures put out by the Nazis.

    The Bush image, OTOH, strikes me as more ordinary political cartooning: think back to caricatures of Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon, especially in the underground press for the latter. Nothing particularly remarkable.

  40. avatar
    Lupin April 18, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    US Citizen: So it’s disingenuous to chant that they “can’t be racists because he’s half-white” when what they actually see is purely a black man.

    Quite. They have nothing against blacks; they just don’t want one as President.

    Many times I have challenged birthers here to show me proof that they cared about Vattel or any of their pseudo-constitutional concepts before Obama was elected, and I have yet to receive an answer.

  41. avatar
    The Magic M April 18, 2011 at 4:14 am #

    > So it’s disingenuous to chant that they “can’t be racists because he’s half-white” when what they actually see is purely a black man.

    Actually there’s nothing more appalling than watching a racist trying to pass himself off as non-racist (or labeling black people as racist). That leads to some Obama-haters writing nonsense such as “I only hate his white half”, not realizing how silly it makes them look.

  42. avatar
    James M April 18, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    J. Edward Tremlett: You don’t believe that, try reclaiming that one, six-letter N-word for the people in a mixed crowd in public. I’ll be over here with the camcorder.

    Oddly, this still flies in my hometown. It’s really weird, because every time I go there, I hear a white person say the N-word, matter-of-factly addressing a black person, and every time I think I am going to witness a riot, but it doesn’t happen. It’s weird, and I *cringe* at it, but then I’m a seriously over-educated liberal elite who has lived on the West Coast for decades, and my hometown is still a small place with a distinctly Southern mindset that *nobody* has migrated to since the 1930s.

    I’ll never get used to the way little old ladies talk to and about black people who work for them. I come from a place that really never inculcated a spirit of racial equality following the Civil Rights Movement, or, for that matter, the Civil War.

  43. avatar
    Lupin April 18, 2011 at 4:17 am #

    No one (AFAIK) has questioned Davenport’s “logic” regarding the alleged absence of a birth certificate, which is in effect the double whammy of her racist intent.

    The monkeys — chimpanzees? — portrayed on the photo are dressed in humans clothes and for all intents and purposes are meant to portray (allegorically) a human family, just like the monkey versions of AMERICAN GOTHIC and the MONA LISA:

    http://fineartamerica.com/featured/american-sock-monkeys-randy-burns.html

    http://astoria-rust.blogspot.com/2010/05/art-parody.html

    Why then automatically assume that the baby monkey who is being lovingly held by his parents would be illegitimate and/or without a proper birth certificate?

    If we take the allegory at face value — ignoring its racist symbols — there is still no reason to make the jump from there to the absence of a birth certificate (ie: illegitimacy).

    I know I’m reading more into this that was likely CONSCIOUSLY intended by Davenport, but that illogical jump just helps (IMHO) to cement her clear racist message.

  44. avatar
    Lupin April 18, 2011 at 4:21 am #

    I’d like to add that the third and fourth PLANET OF THE APES movies of the 1970s were clearly meant to draw a parallel between black slavery in the US and the revolt of the Apes, but unlike Davenport’s appalling photo, the analogy was subverting the inherent racism, not furthering it.

    http://www.impawards.com/1972/conquest_of_the_planet_of_the_apes.html

  45. avatar
    G April 18, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Lupin: I’d like to add that the third and fourth PLANET OF THE APES movies of the 1970s were clearly meant to draw a parallel between black slavery in the US and the revolt of the Apes, but unlike Davenport’s appalling photo, the analogy was subverting the inherent racism, not furthering it.http://www.impawards.com/1972/conquest_of_the_planet_of_the_apes.html

    Speaking of which, they are remaking this portion of the Planet of the Apes saga. In fact, the trailer was just released on April 14th and on August 5th, the new “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” movie will be released in the U.S., starring James Franco.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1376448/Rise-Of-The-Planet-Of-The-Apes-Fans-bananas-new-clip.html

  46. avatar
    G April 18, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Deborah: The billboard of Bush was not motivated by racism like the repulsive email photo depicting a black President as a chimp.
    Bush was incompetent but managed to win enough votes to eek out a Supreme Court appointment thanks to his evangelical base. Bush slashed funding for scientific research and censored inconvenient scientific data while establishing an office of faith based initiatives.
    The billboard is funny because evolution denying religious fundamentalists elected Bush.

    Lupin: The Bush image, OTOH, strikes me as more ordinary political cartooning: think back to caricatures of Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon, especially in the underground press for the latter. Nothing particularly remarkable.

    I do want to clarify that I don’t have any problem with the Billboard image of GWB shown here. It only uses GWB’s own face and actual facial expression and I completely get the context, as Deborah has stated. Therefore, I don’t see that particular image / instance as offensive at all and I do find it to be quite amusing.

    I do remember seeing a few images of GWB where they did change his image into an actual monkey or chimp. Those are the ones that I didn’t care for, as they did come across as portraying him as not merely an idiot, but sub-human, which I felt was in poor taste. There is really no need to go to that level. As the billboard illustrates, Bush had enough moments of silly looking expressions on his own face to suffice in portraying any point about his ineptitude all on their own merit.

  47. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Keith: Where is the monkey’ in that one? That doesn’t even contain an image of a chimp, which is what you seem to be trying to conveying (not monkey). There are silhouettes of possible human ancestor or related apes, but no monkeys and no chimps.

    What are the differences between a monkey and a chimpanzee?

    Thank you for attending today’s lecture, perhaps tomorrow we’ll discuss why there is no such thing as race in human biology; it is a 100% social invention.

    Apes and monkeys are different, of course, and I have not been careful in making that distinction. A chimpanzee is not a monkey. My apologies to the scientific community. I used to work closely with a fellow who did primate research at Yerkes, so I do know better.

  48. avatar
    AnotherBird April 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    The message from the second is a making fun of Bush’s lack of acceptance of basic science. Some people are amazing by the similarities that we have with other animals, and consider them equals. The comparison of African America to apes and monkeys have been used to suggest that that population is inferior.

    If the images were switched the second wouldn’t be funny because we believed that Obama has a good understanding of science. The first one would be some what offensive, and strange as the message would be clearly understood.

    It is common to compare those support Darwin’s theory as apes or monkeys, and to use caricatures to demonstrate that.

    It isn’t the image per say, but the message.

  49. avatar
    AnotherBird April 18, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    US Citizen: So it’s disingenuous to chant that they “can’t be racists because he’s half-white” when what they actually see is purely a black man.

    That in where lies the problem. Denial is the only thing that can be agreed upon.

  50. avatar
    misha April 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    AnotherBird: Some people are amazing by the similarities that we have with other animals, and consider them equals.

    We differ from chimpanzees by 1/2 chromosome. We differ from orangutans by one chromosome. A domestic cat’s central nervous system is 99% of ours. Cats are used to test human neurological drugs. If it works on a cat, 99% of the time it will work on a human.

    We wear clothing because we are the naked ape. I firmly believe great apes should be given human civil rights. (Great apes do not have a tail.) I treat my cat and dog like children. My dog goes everywhere with me: buildings, restaurants, public transportation, and sleeps with me. She never leaves my side.

  51. avatar
    Deborah April 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Romo Cop:
    In short, it’s victimology.

    The reason why it’s cheapened is that anything that goes against Obama, AND YOU GUYS SHOULD KNOW THIS VERY WELL HERE, is called “racist.”

    Herein lies the problem. Remember the Obama Joker thing? Called racist too.

    The Joker image has racist undertones. I can understand people may not understand why the Joker image has racist undertones. Fox News routinely engages in what is called symbolic racism. People aren’t even aware of it, but it does feed a need in some people to feel racially superior. Fox is good. However, I don’t buy that people are so culturally illiterate not to recognize the chimp photo as racist. It should repulse people.

    The absurd conspiracies about President Obama are rooted in racism. The extreme reaction to the Obama presidency has been irrational and unjustified. The Tea Party started protesting nonexistent tax hikes – everyone got a tax cut –three months after Obama’s inauguration. The Tea Party types hate Obama for reasons that are fabricated, completely disconnected from reality.

    The undeniable racism is deeply troubling because it has been embraced by one of our two major political parties.

  52. avatar
    misha April 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Deborah: The undeniable racism is deeply troubling because it has been embraced by one of our two major political parties.

    See Huck and Trump, among others. The only time in my life I will agree with Karl Rove.

  53. avatar
    Black Lion April 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    Bachmann: Obama has neglected to prove eligibility

    ‘All he had to do is just answer some questions and show his document’

    Posted: April 17, 2011
    10:11 pm Eastern

    By Joe Kovacs

    U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., says President Obama has neglected to clearly demonstrate he’s eligible to hold his office, and says it would be simple for him to do so.

    “It’s an interesting issue that has gone on for so long and it’s one that the president could have solved very early on,” Bachmann told Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro last night. “All he had to do is just answer some questions and show his [long-form birth] document and then have people do an attestation that this in fact is a legal document and it’s over, it’s done. And I think the president has neglected to focus on answering that question for people, and that’s why a lot of people still have it lingering in their minds. None of us can prove, none of us can do attestation. Only the president and someone who is legally tasked with attesting to the validity of that document can do that, and I think that’s what the president should do.”

    Bachmann, who is considering her own run for president next year, said, “One thing I know is that people have weighed President Obama in the balance, and he’s been found wanting. I think we have a real opportunity to win back the White House. And it’s not about again a political party winning, it’s about taking the country back. That’s the bigger issue, and I really think it’s going to happen in 2012.”

    http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=288445

  54. avatar
    G April 18, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Black Lion: Bachmann: Obama has neglected to prove eligibility
    All he had to do is just answer some questions and show his document’

    Wow…Bachmann keeps blowing in the wind and taking different positions on this. it seems every time she discusses it, she hedges in a different direction.

    She’s nothing but a crazy and half-witted McCarty-style opportunist anyways.

  55. avatar
    G April 18, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    should read:

    She’s nothing but a crazy and half-witted McCarthy-style opportunist anyways.

  56. avatar
    Wild Bill H April 19, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    Odd, contradictory post.

    “This is the second racist email” – what in the world is racist about it? I’ll admit it’s in poor taste, but there is nothing at all racist about it. Which got me to wondering, are chips considered black or white?

    “That brings us to the following question: why is the preceding incident not funny, but the following one hilarious?”
    So, Obama’s image is racist, but Bush’s image is funny?

    Personally, I find both of them to be humorous, but in poor taste. But then, it’s that usually the way with jokes?

    Liberals and Obama followers find any little port in the storm of an excuse to bash the right over the head with racism…even when it is non-existent. It’s like the boy who cried wolf….ya’ll are going to falsely call racism too many times, to the point it will lose it’s meaning.

  57. avatar
    Greg April 19, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    You can’t figure out why comparing a black man to an ape/chimpanzee, when for decades racists compared black men and women to apes/chimpanzees to make the argument that they were less than human, might be racist?

  58. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 25, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    See CNN Report with updates to the chimp story:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2011/04/18/ac.kth.obama.chimp.email.cnn

  59. avatar
    buy 10 ounce silver bars April 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

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