August 5, 2008

No Country for Old Satirists

... because the Serious People are too funny for a parodist to compete with. I can't make up stuff as good as this tiff between the Wall Street Journal and Slate over whether it's racist to mention Obama's skinniness.

Timothy Noah of Slate claims:

When "Skinny" Means "Black:" The Journal stumbles over racial subtext.

In the Aug. 1 Wall Street Journal, Amy Chozick asked, "[C]ould Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability?" Most Americans, Chozick points out, aren't skinny. Fully 66 percent of all citizens who've reached voting age are overweight, and 32 percent are obese. To be thin is to be different physically. Not that there's anything wrong, mind you, with being a skinny person. But would you want your sister to marry one? Would you want a whole family of skinny people to move in next-door? "I won't vote for any beanpole guy," an "unnamed Clinton supporter" wrote on a Yahoo politics message board. My point is that any discussion of Obama's "skinniness" and its impact on the typical American voter can't avoid being interpreted as a coded discussion of race.

… But I firmly disagree that a racial reading of Chozick's story is "ridiculous," and I would counter that any failure on Chozick's part to recognize such is just a wee bit clueless.

Let's review the basics. Barack Obama is the first African-American to win a major-party nomination for president of the United States. African-Americans are distinguishable from other Americans by their skin color. This physical attribute looms large in our nation's history as a source of prejudice.

The promise of Obama's presidency, in many people's minds, is partly that America will move toward becoming a post-racial society. It's pretty clear, though, that we aren't there yet. When white people are invited to think about Obama's physical appearance, the principal attribute they're likely to dwell on is his dark skin. Consequently, any reference to Obama's other physical attributes can't help coming off as a coy walk around the barn. A whole genre of humor turns on this reality. A Slate colleague informs me that an episode of the TV sitcom Happy Days ("Fonzie's New Friend") had its 1950s-era characters nervously discussing the fact that a black man in their midst was so … skinny. Was it true that skinny people liked fried chicken? That they were good at basketball? And so on.

It might be argued that body weight differs from certain other physical characteristics (apart from skin color) in that it has never been associated with racial caricature. Chozick wasn't asking (and, I feel sure, would never ask) whether Americans might think Obama's hair was too kinky or his nose too broad. But it doesn't matter. The sad fact is that any discussion of Obama's physical appearance is going to remind white people of the physical characteristic that's most on their minds.

Oh, boy ...

First, I find it highly unlikely that Obama's svelteness is going to hurt him at all. There hasn't been a truly fat President since William Howard Taft. The last Presidential nominees, George W. Bush and John Kerry, were in terrific shape for men of their ages.

Second, Obama's skinniness is a racial trait, but virtually nobody in America knows that. Obama is half Nilotic, and Nilotic people, such as Kenyan runners and Sudanese basketball players, are, on average, skinnier than anybody else in the world when they are in good shape. Physical anthropologists refer to Nilotics as "elongated." Anthropologist Carleton Coon wrote: "The Nilotic Negroes, who live in extreme heat, particularly in summer, may turn out to be the world's leanest people." Obama's Luo tribe, whom Obama described as "tall, ink-black" compared to the "short, brown Kikuyus," are not as extreme as the Dinka or Nuer of southern Sudan, but they tend in that direction.

However, Nilotics are extremely rare in America -- the only time I've stumbled across a large number of American Nilotics is when looking up star high school cross country runners (boys with East African names accounted for 9% of the top 300 high school cross country times). So, nobody thinks of skinniness as a racial trait.

Indeed, African-American women tend, these days, toward fatness (think Oprah and Queen Latifah among even celebrities), while African-American male celebrities tend to be muscular (Lebron James, LaDainlian Tomlinson, 50 Cent, and Will Smith), or, in the case of rappers, fat.

Third, Obama has always been nearly all about race, although in more sophisticated ways than most pundits can grasp. You can't go from being a state legislator to President in four years if you are a normal white or black politician. Even if you are the son or wife of a former President, it takes six to eight years as governor or U.S. senator. (That's why the Bush dynasty couldn't run their Chosen Son, Jeb, in 2000 -- because he'd gotten beaten in the 1994 Florida gubernatorial race, so only had 2 years in the governor's mansion by 2000, while the Prodigal Son, George, had won an upset victory in Texas in 1994.)

It's the mythopoetical aspects of Obama's racial heritage -- the heir foreordained to unify two warring dynasties -- that makes him the Presidential frontrunner. After his defeat by Bobby Rush in 2000, Obama finally figured that out. That's why he devoted the first 380 words of his debut speech at the 2004 Democratic convention to his ancestral background.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

The sad fact is that any discussion of Obama's physical appearance is going to remind white people of the physical characteristic that's most on their minds.

People often do substitute one physical trait for race when they think they're making a subtle racial jab they can get away with. One comment I've often read and heard about Utah is that we have "too many blondes." When it comes from Asians, blacks, Jews, or other non-Nordic groups (as it usually does) I know exactly what they're trying to say, and I quickly point out that I'm not that naive.

Obama is half Nilotic, and Nilotic people, such as Kenyan runners and Sudanese basketball players, are, on average, skinnier than anybody else in the world when they are in good shape.

Photographer Howard Schatz has a collection called "Athlete" with pictures of various athletes in minimal dress, playing up the physicality of their bodies (I guess).

Yes, the basketball players are tall and the gymnasts are short, and the boxers have really thick necks. But the oddest looking of all the athletes, by far, are the marathon runners. Perhaps marathoners are extreme even for Nilotic people. They aren't just skinnier than other athletes - they have entirely different proportions.

It's the mythopoetical aspects of Obama's racial heritage -- the heir foreordained to unify two warring dynasties -- that makes him the Presidential frontrunner. After his defeat by Bobby Rush in 2000, Obama finally figured that out. That's why he devoted the first 380 words of his debut speech at the 2004 Democratic convention to his ancestral background.

And yet, shockingly, it isn't working - just look at the polls. Go figure - people aren't going to let you play the race card on them for the most important political decision they'll ever make.

Anonymous said...

genius:

It's the mythopoetical aspects of Obama's racial heritage -- the heir foreordained to unify two warring dynasties -- that makes him the Presidential frontrunner.

Scott said...

Thanks for linking to that article. It is nearly beyond belief and quite laughable.

As usual, great research and observations.

Danindc said...

You just had to go and quote Anthropologist Carleton Coon didn't you Steve. Reprehensible.

travis said...

The county I live in is 45% black and I have never seen a black woman "jogging." But, until I started reading this blog, I never gave much thought to the difference between people of west and east African descent. I just assumed, like everyone else, that once someone moves to the South, they instantly become slothful.

Dave Attell said...

Just think how embarassing it will be when he visits Ethiopia as President and they offer him a sandwich.

Dennis Dale said...

If this guy had wanted to root out racist code-speak he didn't have to go any farther than Jesse Jackson's senescent rant about castration that also included an observation on Obama's scrawniness, the implication being "he's not one of us".

Contrary to this "post-racial" nonsense, it's only going to get progressively more absurd with an Obama adminstration; who doesn't see at this point that the same weird dynamic of Obama the First Black Candidate will only intensify with Obama the First Black President, with all the studiously observed double standards and paranoia now impinging on matters of State. I cringe to think of the pressure some will bring to bear for him to intervene in some African mess like Sudan, and the hysterical bludgeon of its symbolism they will use to tar opponents of intervention ("isolationist" already being a sort of code for "bigot" for this type).

But seeing as it's a choice between a mediocrity and a madman, I'm giving in to fatalist humor and looking forward to it. Obama is scary mostly because he has no business being president and fascinating as a sort of hatching out of the great American neurosis about Race; the real damage he will have will come from his inexperience and impressionability in matters of foreign policy. There's a chance the realists will carry the day and reinstill sanity.
McCain is just scary in the familiar, boring megalomanical fashion.

Martin said...

Let me have men about me that are fat

Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights

Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look

He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.

Big Bill said...

Steve, all Timothy Noah columns are raving bull goose looney.

Search for "moolatte" on Google to see him go completely bonkers a couple years ago.

The man is truly deranged, and for some reason Slate keeps him on.

At first I thought his racial "code word" stuff was just a goof, but he never let up, and after a while I figured it was just innate paranoia or (perhaps) OCD.

Again, go read Noah's thoughts about Dairy Queen's drink called the "Moolatte".

(Get it? Moolatte -> Mulatte -> Mulatto = white gentile racism)

J. said...

Having lived in Africa, it has been long obvious to me that Obama has no Bantu heritage, he is very unlike the African tribes from which American Blacks originate. He is from a relatively small group of North Kenyan pastoralists, the Nilotic people. Obama father was to American Blacks like say Koreans to Chinese, or Parsis to average Europeans. He is a different human type. It is astounding that he can pass as Black American, because he is from a totally diferent stock. Please no one understand my comment, which I think describes the obvious, as racist. Obama may be an excellent choice for President, but he is not of the same human group as his attractive wife, for example.

Ron Guhname said...

"...as his attractive wife..."

You gotta be kiddin' me.

Jim Terr said...

"No COuntry for Old Satirists" - good title - I used it for a video parody you might enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFXBuUqPPzc

headache said...

"svelteness" - new word, I better check that out so I can chat with you "fellas".

Anonymous said...

Does skinny Obama enjoy a morning moolatte?

simon n said...

I had a similar thought reading it

skinniness =/= 'black';

skinniness = non-Afro-American

Because Afro-Americans are descended from a small population of ethnic Bantu west Africans, who are notably chunky, fat or muscular. Obama's Nilotic ancestry means that genetically and ethnically he has nothing in common with them. Which is demonstrated in his appearance.

Skinny can be a racial slur. When I saw 'Skinny' I thought first of Mogadishu. The US forces in the battle of Mogadishu had all read RA Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers', where one of the enemy alien species is referred to derogatorily as The Skinnies; they applied the same term to the notably skinny (Nilotic) Somalis they were fighting.

Anonymous said...

Steve points out the "unite warring clans" aspect of Obama's campaign.

There's another throwback aspect -- it's very rare in human history that the most powerful man in the world will deign to hear criticism. It's an unstable situation when the church (= the press + universities) and the state are at war.

The election of Obama will be a return to stability. Church (= press + universities) and state will be on the same side, and will agree upon what is a sin.

Now that PC reigns supreme, any criticism of Obama is racism and a sin against PC. Mention skinniness and Obama in the same sentence? Sin. Britney, Paris, and Obama? Sin. A "fairy tale" and Obama? Sin. Racist sin, sin, sin!

This is the natural way that human hierarchies have been set up over time -- any criticism of Stalin was anticommunist, any criticism of the Pope or the Church was heretical, etc.

Of course, said human hierarchies are fundamentally anti-American. But who cares about that, right? With the election of Pope Obama the 1st, America is officially finished. We will see state codification of religious taboos all over the place, beginning with hate speech laws, extending to religious instruction in schools regarding the Holocaust and the proper way to think, and moving into vistas undreamt of by sane people.


Two related questions for historians of religion:

1) were Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and the like *always* considered "religions"? That is, back when Mohammed was raping and pillaging, did the guys around him look at him as something magical, or did that legend spring up afterwards? Did the "religion" have secular origins?

2) Similarly, somewhat further down the line, how did the informal taboos and worship practices of early religions coalesce into formal organized religion? Did this process also have a "secular" phase or was magic an integral part from the beginning?

halfbreed said...

You can't say "articulate" anymore, and now you evidently can't say "skinny." Prediction: the next word it will be considered racist to apply to blacks will be "intelligent." And the logic will be the same as with "articulate", i.e., since you generally wouldn't feel obliged to point this out about a white person, going out of your way to do so for a black implies that you're dealing with the unexpected, which is roundabout racism.

dearieme said...

Golly, I knew that "burly" could be code for your people of West African descent, but "skinny" for your East African is new to me. Hats off to the creativity of American code-breakers.

rob said...

Perhaps the skininess is why Obama spends so much time at the gym: bulk up and look more African-American.

Some Americans recognize leanness as an ethnoracial trait: US Army Rangers in Somalia referred to the natives as Skinnies.

David said...

Obama's ascension to Christ-status is uncertain. On the mythopoetic level, his sacrifice would not be transformative, since he would be seen thereafter as only a two-bit MLK.

Speaking of MLK, consider that Obama unites the tribes specifically in the form of "JFK + MLK".

A black Jack Kennedy. One might call him "Black Jack," a photo negative as it were of Jack Black, another celebrity.

Another pondering: if Obama gets 8 years in office, who succeeds him? Do the Democrats run Michelle as they ran Hillary? And does the myth-poem of "racial reconciliation" (S. Africans, take note!) then continue to draw crazy/suicidal white American voters like flies?

McCain is looking positively healthy and sane next to this mess.

Anonymous said...

"Now that PC reigns supreme, any criticism of Obama is racism and a sin against PC. Mention skinniness and Obama in the same sentence? Sin. Britney, Paris, and Obama? Sin. A "fairy tale" and Obama? Sin. Racist sin, sin, sin!"

There's your new NPR/PBS gameshow. Try to interpret with a few leaps of logic as possible any public statement as being racists vis-a-vis Obama.

Of course Obama made the supreme preemtive coup by calling McCain and any other critic racists without reference to any specific statement they made. How do you beat that rap?

Michael said...

I agree with your basic idea that Obama's skinniness isn't a problem and bringing it up isn't racist. I have to say though that it isn't just Obama's ethnic background that it is responsible for his meteoric rise. Obama is an amazingly gifted politician. Great rhetoric, always on guard, carefully triangulating, actually very smart, able to seem moderate or at least respectful to ideas that he disagrees with, and very practical.

John Edwards had a similarly short political career and a less successful one in the senate and he came in a solid number two in 2004. Obama just barely won in 2008 and I think while it is debatable he is just plain better as a politician than Edwards. I think the differences in outcomes between Edwards and Obama can be explained without treating Obama's race as a decisive positive factor. Of course Obama's race is important to the particular narrative of his ascension but I could see someone with Obama's considerable gifts rising similarly rapidly I think a John Edwards who was as strong a politician as Obama would probably have bested Kerry in 2004.

Dennis Mangan said...

One odd thing going on here is that according to that WSJ article, Obama is 6 feet 1.5 inches tall, and they guesstimate that he weighs 180. That gives him a BMI of 23.4, solidly within the normal range. In fact, if he weighed only 12 pounds more, he'd be on the verge of being officially overweight at a BMI of 25. Shows you just how fat as a nation we are that someone of normal weight is now considered "skinny". He isn't even close to being marathon runner skinny.

Zimri said...

To the anon who referred to "Church (= press + universities)": Don't bring "how to think about the Holocaust" into this discussion. Please. Apart from that you were doing so well.

Canson said...

"The election of Obama will be a return to stability. Church (= press + universities) and state will be on the same side, and will agree upon what is a sin. "

What you are describing is analogous Mao's Cultural Revolution. I doubt an American version of the Cultural Revolution would be any more a "return to stability" than the Chinese prototype.

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm probably not going to vote for Obama.

That being said, the world will not come to an end if Obama is elected. Yes, the quota system will be enforced even more fiercely. Yes, PC will become even more the law of the land.

We'll survive. It's not that important who's president. Eggheads like to argue politics. In the process of arguing about politics, they convince themselves that politics is crucially, earth shatteringly important.

Calm down, folks.

kurt said...

The democratic primary campaign this spring was based entirely on identity politics with a woman and a partial African-American as the democratic candidates. I am wondering if the die has been cast for the democrats such that they can never again run a white male candidate for president, for fear of offending the "victim" groups.

Concerned said...

About Obama's Nilotic skinniness - have you ever seen pictures of him as a kid? He was plump. He keeps skinny now the old fashioned way: smoking, furious exercise and rigorous dieting. Hell, he could be a ballerina.

"First, I find it highly unlikely that Obama's svelteness is going to hurt him at all."

I disagree. He's not trim or fit - he's SKINNY. That's kind of un-American at this point.

Although I do, of course, agree that skinny isn't a racial code word. Nor is arrogant. Or articulate. That's all manipulative bullshit.

Kevin J Smith Jr said...

Why people hate the GOP:

http://www.schafferfamilyvalues.com/

Son of Colorado gov. Your kind of guy? Here's his explanation/apology:

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/08/bob_schaffers_son_apologizes_f_1.php

So talk about hypocrisy. I agree with much of what you say. I'm a conservative at heart. But I will not side with this cunter. I don't believe this personality type is rare in the GOP. In fact, I believe there is more of this type than anything else. Instead of trying to stomp on smushy libs, why not aim at cleaning house? Be independent, and even conservative, but by all means, don't be republican. Answers?

poolside said...

It's not Obama's actual weight that could be an issue for some. It's his obsession with it.

He looks anorexic but even worse, he acts like it, with the constant working out and fake bites of food on the campaign trail.

I'm not saying he has to be a porker to win, but it does offer a clue into his psyche.

Anonymous said...

zimri:

To clarify, the Holocaust was a bad thing, but it was not the worst thing ever or even particularly unique. Millions died in the Ukraine, in Armenia, in Russia, in China, and all around the world. See www.sovietstory.com

The overemphasis on the Shoah and corresponding blackout of Communist atrocities is a political tool of the left. Only right wingers and "racists" can be bad guys. This is what I mean by "the right way to think". The Holocaust is used as a bludgeon to prove that Lyenskoist belief in human plasticity, malleability, indistinguishability, interchangeability, and reprogrammability is the highest good. Of course it is not.


Shouting Thomas:

1) How long did it take for South Africa to fall into the abyss after a handover? It's only 14 years since the democratic handover of power, and South Africa is like a scene from 28 Days Later.

So: politics *can* matter, on *short* time scales.

2) Eight years of Obama means eight years of open borders, hate crimes laws, mandatory national service[1], slashed science spending[2], and federally prohibited racial profiling[3]. And reparations[4] are a distinct possibility in his second term.

Our only consolation: when Obama opens the borders, we will attain dynamic equilibrium with Mexico and Central America rather than Africa.

Perhaps you can be "calm" while the Brazilification of America proceeds. I can't.

...re: references, too lazy to include links, but google the following terms:

[1] "Service Nation" Volokh
[2] Wired Obama NASA
[3] Obama Jena Howard speech
[4] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121743626734197371.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

A.W. said...

All this has made me realize two things. One is sad, and one is ironic.

First, our society is still too screwed up on racial issues to have a black president.

Second, and this is the ironic part, its the so-called liberals who are so hung up as to make it impossible. As "progressive" as they are, they are just not over race enough to be able to deal rationally with the idea of a black president.

Anonymous said...

I doubt an American version of the Cultural Revolution would be any more a "return to stability" than the Chinese prototype.

Of course you are right. It will only be "stability" in the sense that the left/press/universities will have won their final victory over the state and installed their man in power. He will promptly enact speech controls against immigration restrictionists like Lou Dobbs for "ginning up hate". He didn't want to, you understand, it's just that the rise in "anti-Hispanic hate crimes" forced his hand. As with Europe, he will say that we respect free speech, but we will not "worship it".

And just like that, the First Amendment will no longer be worth a tinker's damn. Don't bother with anything messy like a Constitutional amendment process. Just do it the way they did Brown and Roe and busing -- and the way they're doing gay marriage:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340


And then it will begin in earnest. Once it is no longer just shunning -- once we can be fined and jailed for protesting the invasion of illiterate migrant workers -- the underclass and overclass will link hands to truly destroy us. Look forward to Section 8 subsidization, endless immigration, punitive taxation, and relentless indoctrination.

Anonymous said...

...and for those of you who are skeptical about the near-term viability of reparations, just think about gay marriage.

How quickly did *that* move from fringe issue to Democratic litmus test? You can use Google News to confirm your own intuitions about the meteoric rise.

...and it won't end at reparations for blacks. Money for Native Americans and Mexicans will be soon to follow. And it will keep going from there...

Svigor said...

You gotta be kiddin' me.

No, Kool-Aid drinkers actually say this all the time. I told a bunch of them they must be drunk on Kool-Aid, and that the Nu Virgin Mary was an ugly he-beast (I wasn't nearly that blunt), and they called me a racist right from the word go (my liberal white supremacy meter went off like crazy; i.e., "we all know black women are ugly, but he who doesn't pretend they aren't is a racist").

Anonymous said...

As with Europe, he will say that we respect free speech, but we will not "worship it". And just like that, the First Amendment will no longer be worth a tinker's damn.

It's worth a damn now? Thanks to the "need" to fight racism, the First Amendment has already been gutted.

Freedom of assembly? Talk to groups like the Rotary Club and the Boy Scouts, who had (or nearly had) their organizations forced to accept women, gays, and atheists against their will.

Freedom of religion? Talk to Christians at Bob Jones University (but not blacks at Trinity UCC or Syrian Jews in Brooklyn), which had its tax-exempt status revoked because it opposes interracial dating.

Freedom of speech? Talk to the bar owner who had (or nearly had) his liquor license revoked because he allegedely said to a customer that a display at his bar had racial

Right to property? Talk to Denny's, Walgreens, Fedex, and thousands of others who have been sued for tens of millions over discrimination claims.

Right to choose your public servants? Talk to John Derbyshire himself. His community wanted to get rid of the principal, a female black bigot, at his daughter's high school, but she threatened a discrimination suit.

Our freedoms are dead, dead, and dying, and what's killed them or is killing them is the so-called "need" for the government to fight discrimination.

The more people work for big business rather than themselves, the more our freedoms go away, because businesses can fire you on a whim. But even working for yourself isn't enough if the state can revoke your license to practice your profession or if lawyers can endlessly harrass you.

Too many lawyers and anti-discrimination laws = the death of a free republic.

and for those of you who are skeptical about the near-term viability of reparations, just think about gay marriage. How quickly did *that* move from fringe issue to Democratic litmus test?

The day slavery reparations happen is the day I max out my credit cards on guns, ammo and survival gear, burn the receipt, and move to Montana. The day a reparations bill passes will be the day white nationalism comes into its own and people start joining up by the millions.

Too many leeches, of the racial and "professional" kind, are sucking this country dry, and the slow realization of that will turn into a rapid one when a reparations bill passes.

Come to think of it, I hope that $8 trillion reparations bill passes next year under President Obama's signature. Let's just get it over with shall we?

Proofreader said...

"Skinny" definitely refers to Somalis in the UK. If you're looking for trouble, call a Somali skinny.

Judging from the pictures, Obama's father looked a bit on the fat side and Obama himself was a chubby kid.
Now he looks just thin IMHO.

Hibernia Girl said...

About the other half of Obama's ethnic heritage -- genealogists @ Trinity College Dublin are over the moon having tracked down more info on Barry's Irish roots. (Since we don't have m/any famous people over here, we enjoy finding whatever drops of Irish blood in famous people elsewhere that we can find!)

One of his ancestors was, apparently, a wig-maker:

Obama ancestry traced to 18th century Dublin

canson said...

"Too many leeches, of the racial and "professional" kind, are sucking this country dry, and the slow realization of that will turn into a rapid one when a reparations bill passes."

How ever much the Light Worker and his merry band Mau Mau the country they *will not* pass a reparations bill. He has come out against reparations as insufficient and he has a point. Reparations would be a one time payout. Most would feel this to be enough to turn our backs on the "legacy of hate that is AmeriKKKa" and move on. Not very conducive to an on going, massive redistribution of wealth that is on average hurting middle class whites far more than Obama's various client groups. Look instead for increased "witch hunting", taxes and ever more naked leftist propaganda in all spheres of life. Governing policies will be where the novel mischief comes to the fore. One possiblity is a initiative to review the sentences of "non-violent drug offenders" a term that will be flexible to be sure. This will have great appeal and perhaps even appear to be a positive fiscal choice.

Joe Camel said...

“One odd thing going on here,” notes Dennis Mangan, “is that according to that WSJ article, Obama is 6 feet 1.5 inches tall, and they guesstimate that he weighs 180.” There must be something wrong with those figures. They match my height and weight exactly, and I'm certainly not skinny. In fact only last week my cardiologist told me yet again that I’m too fat, and I’m afraid she’s probably right.

On the other hand, if it turns out that “skinny” Obama is exactly the same height and weight as myself, and that nobody is complaining that he’s too fat, then I shall have the satisfaction of telling my cardiologist she’s not as good at her job as she thinks she is.

Anonymous said...

Obama is 6 feet 1.5 inches tall, and they guesstimate that he weighs 180.” There must be something wrong with those figures. They match my height and weight exactly, and I'm certainly not skinny.

My height exactly, too (right down to the 0.5 inches). My weight is 20 pounds higher, but no one's ever told me I'm fat (though I'm trying to get down to 180 or so.) Different body type, different result. I'm broader in the shoulders than Obama. My guess is that either the 180 is a bad guess or else Obama has higher muscle mass and less fat. If he has a similar ratio of muscle mass to fat then he's probably actually 160-170.

Truth said...

"and that the Nu Virgin Mary was an ugly he-beast"

I think most men would agree that Michelle Obama is more sexually desireable than Barbara Bush, wouldn't you?

(for your own sake, just type 'yes' in the designated box above.)

Anonymous said...

I think most men would agree that Michelle Obama is more sexually desireable than Barbara Bush, wouldn't you?

Gotta agree with "Truth" (please change that dumb nick) on this one. Or Laura Bush. Or Hillary Clinton. She's definitely not my type - especially personality-wise - but comments like Svigor's adolsecent racial jeering shouldn't have a place on this blog, imo.

Truth said...

Thanks.

ben tillman said...

The sad fact is that any discussion of Obama's physical appearance is going to remind white people of the physical characteristic that's most on their minds.

The fact is that any discussion of Obama AT ALL is going to remind white people of the physical characteristic that's most on their (and Noah's) minds, and writers like Noah do this reminding explicitly. This means his take on "skinniness" is profoundly disingenuous or stupid.

Anonymous said...

He has come out against reparations as insufficient

I know what you're saying -- that reparations would be looked at as a symbolic payment -- but though logical, it's not correct. Have German reparations to Jews for the Holocaust or American reparations to Japanese for the internment been seen as expiatory? No, quite the contrary.

As for Obama's own words on reparations (which he will no doubt walk back now that they've gotten some attention):

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121743626734197371.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.

Now, I have no doubt that Obama will duck and weave on this. That's what the progressive culture warrior is supposed to do during the long march. Back up and make peace while the spotlight is on you. Then keep going once it's off.

Obama has to tack to the center to get elected. Thus his convenient reversals on FISA, among other things. But with respect to reparations, the only question is whether the mask will drop in the first term or the second term.

Anonymous said...

Re: Michelle Obama is more attractive than Barbara Bush.

OK first of all lets establish that we are actually talking about Barbara as in mother of GWB. If we are talking about GW's daughter then the assertion falls flat on its face right there as anyone with a functioning eyeball would confirm.

If the debate is about Barbara Bush snr. then lets reflect that she is over 80. A fair comparison would be Barbara Bush as she was 40 years ago to compare with Michelle.

Lets face it even taking off 40 years doesnt help too much, though it does help a bit, she still looks like she could be his mother.

Anonymous said...

Wow.

http://starbulletin.com/2008/07/28/news/story05.html

"I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged," the Democratic presidential hopeful said.

"I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds."

Obama, who appeared tired in his first major appearance since returning Saturday from a 10-day trip abroad, met with a receptive audience at the Chicago convention. Some journalists had waited three hours for the 40-minute appearance...

Obama, who acknowledged that he needed a nap, stood up to say farewell to the audience of journalists, many of whom gave him another standing ovation.

Anonymous said...

When I read "mythopoetical aspects of Obama's racial heritage" I suddenly thought of Condi Rice cast as a sort Elizabethan Virgin Queen. Now that would be mythopoetical!

Truth said...

Barbara Bush 40 years ago...

http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research
/gallery.php?id=31

...Nah, I'd have to go with Michelle

HeatherRadish said...

In fact, if he weighed only 12 pounds more, he'd be on the verge of being officially overweight at a BMI of 25. Shows you just how fat as a nation we are that someone of normal weight is now considered "skinny".

No, that only shows you how worthless the BMI is. You do know it's just the old height-weight chart, based on data collected from (white, teenaged) 1940s army volunteers, with the bottom of the first standard deviation misnamed "ideal weight"...

teacher.paris said...

http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Politics/12944.htm
senior official in the State of Hawaii's Department of Health, Director of Communications Janice Okubo, confirms that the image published and circulated by the Obama campaign as his "birth certificate" lacks the necessary embossed seal and signature. Backing away from a quote attributed to her that the image on the campaign site was "valid," she told the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times in an article published yesterday: "I don't know that it's possible for us to even say beyond a doubt what the image on the site represents."

Barack Obama has claimed in writing to have a valid printed document: In the first chapter of his book Dreams From My Father, describing his origins, he wrote about finding a local Hawaiian newspaper article about his Kenyan father: "I discovered this article, folded away among my birth certificate and old vaccination forms, when I was in high school."

So where is that birth certificate? It got lost? The dog ate it? No matter. Barack Obama or an immediate family member can plunk down $10 ($11.50 if he orders online) and have Hawaii mail a certified document to him within a week or two. But more than two weeks have passed since the Obama campaign adopted the suspect, uncertified image of a purported birth document published by a left-wing blog Daily Kos, and nothing certified and nothing on paper has since has been forthcoming. Nor has there been any official comment about the issue from the campaign. They may cling to the hope -- however audacious -- that the one issue that could disqualify their man constitutionally from gaining the presidency will just go away.

Amy Hollyfield of the St. Petersburg Times, and a reporter for the paper's "Politifact" blog, said that she has been seeking the birth certificate "for months." She was frustrated: "Hawaii birth certificates aren't public record. Only family members can request copies, so when the campaign declined to give us one, we were stalled."

Finally, the campaign released the image (resembling the one at the top of this article). Hollyfield e-mailed it to the Hawaii Department of Health, which maintains such records, to ask if it was real.

"It's a valid Hawaii state birth certificate," spokesman Janice Okubo told us.
Then the firestorm started.

Israel Insider contacted Okubo several days. She could not refer to Obama's specific case, she said, because no one but an authorized family member can do so. But she did confirm that a valid "certification of live birth" would need to have an embossed seal and signature and that it can only be printed and mailed. There is no such thing as an electronic only certification.

...
Nothing else explains why Obama's campaign refused to release the original paper document, to make this distracting controversy go way. Because Hollyfield is right about one thing:

"If this document is forged, a U.S. senator and his presidential campaign have perpetrated a vast, long-term fraud."

teacher.paris said...

http://inverted-world.com/index.php/blog/blog/the_affirmative_action_hoax/

The Affirmative Action Hoax
By Ian Jobling • 8/8/08
Buy The Affirmative Action Hoax
from Amazon.
Steven Farron’s The Affirmative Action Hoax is, to my knowledge, the most thorough and uncompromising exposé of affirmative action in higher education. As many other writers have done, he provides copious evidence that universities discriminate against whites on a massive scale. However, unlike most critics of racial preferences, Farron examines his subject from a race realist perspective that acknowledges the reality of biological differences in intelligence among the races. This perspective enables him to see clearly how flimsy all the arguments commonly made in favor of affirmative action are. Farron also recognizes that the dogma of racial equality that underlies affirmative action inevitably leads to the corruption of academic standards.

Farron proves through countless examples that affirmative action university admittees have been far below the white standard for decades:

In 1989, black applicants who were admitted to selective colleges scored 350 points lower on the SATs than white admittees did.1
In 1996, the University of California at Berkeley Law School accepted every black applicant with an undergraduate GPA of 3.25 and a Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score in the 70th percentile but rejected all white and Asian applicants with the same scores.2
In 2001, the average SAT score of Hispanics who were admitted to UCLA was lower than the average score of whites who were rejected.3
Similarly, for decades the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores of minorities who are admitted to American medical schools have been lower than those of whites who were rejected.4
Blacks and Hispanics receive 80 percent of merit scholarships—that is, scholarships supposedly awarded on the basis of talent rather than need—at the University of Michigan, despite the fact that they have much lower test scores and grades than whites and Asians.5
Farron directs devastating criticism against the claim that affirmative action is necessary to compensate for the disadvantages suffered by American minorities, such as poverty and past discrimination. First of all, the beneficiaries of racial preferences are not poor or disadvantaged in any other respect. All studies of the subject have shown that the large majority of affirmative action admittees to universities come from middle and upper-class households.6

Furthermore, minority students do not underperform in school and on tests because of poverty, but because blacks are on average much less intelligent than whites. In fact, the average IQ of whites in the bottom half of the American income range is about eight points higher than the IQ of blacks in the top half.7 Poor whites score better on standardized tests than wealthy blacks. In 2002, the average math SAT score of whites whose parents earned less than $10,000 was 497, but the average score of blacks whose parents earned $100,000 or more was 490. LSAT scores show the same pattern.8

Some defenders of affirmative action argue that blacks underperform in high school due to low self-esteem. However, the clear conclusion of studies on this subject is that black teenagers have significantly higher self-esteem than whites. The Washington, DC school population is more heavily black than that of any state, and it also scores worse on standardized tests. Yet the students there are more likely to answer yes to the statement “I am good at mathematics” than students in any state.9

Universities are under pressure not only to admit, but also to graduate, large numbers of minorities. Indeed, in some cases, universities that do not graduate specified quotas of minorities are denied federal funding or accreditation.10 The compulsion to graduate unqualified applicants inevitably lowers academic standards.

Dr. Bernard Davis, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, exposed this travesty in 1975. Affirmative action resulted in the admission of black medical students who were far below the usual standard for Harvard, which is, of course, one of the most selective schools in America. The average MCAT score of black admittees was in the mid-400s, which was lower than the average score of white applicants who were rejected by all medical schools in the country.

Naturally, these students fared poorly, but the school hid the disparities by lowering its standards. Harvard replaced the usual letter grades with a pass/fail system to obscure differences in student performance. Also, the medical school began offering repeat examinations for students who failed courses and lowered exam standards. Even worse, Harvard devalued its medical degree. Whereas previously Harvard had required that degree recipients do much better than the minimum national standard on standardized tests for medical students, the school began granting its degrees to all students who performed at the minimum level or above.

However, even this was not enough to guarantee passage of black students. In 1975, the dean of the medical school granted a degree to a black student who had failed to meet the minimum national requirement on standardized tests after having taken them five times. The indignant Davis made the whole mess public. In recompense for his bravery, students picketed his office, and he was denied promotion.11

The lowering of standards is responsible for the colossal grade inflation that has taken place at American universities in the past 40 years. In 2003 about half of students at the nation’s top colleges received A’s. As Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield explains:

in the late 60’s and early 70’s, white professors, imbibing the spirit of affirmative action, stopped giving low or average grades to black students and, to justify or conceal it, stopped giving those grades to white students as well.
The affirmative action travesty persists because of the willingness of university administrators and the media to deceive the public. One tactic is to simply to deny that racial preferences exist. Up until 1996, the University of Michigan administration would tell anyone who asked that they simply did not take race into account in admissions. Then a professor forced the university to disclose its admissions records through a Freedom of Information Act request, and it turned out that standards for black admittees were far below those for whites and Asians.12

A more common lie is that race gives applicants only a slight edge. The dean of Berkeley’s law school told a reporter in 1995 that race only comes into play when admissions committees must choose between two applicants with the same qualifications. When the law school was forced to disclose its admissions records, the enormous disparities quoted at the beginning of the article were revealed.13 Farron shows through many examples that the news media can be counted on to parrot the lies of university administrators, repeating discredited denials of racial preferences without looking into the facts.14

The Affirmative Action Hoax takes on many other myths concocted by the academic elites and their media minions to defend racial preferences. If you’re mad at what Farron labels “the vicious anti-white discrimination that has pervaded American society since the 1960s,”15 then this book is for you.