January 16, 2012

"What's race got to do with it?"

Lee Siegel blogs in the New York Times:
Pundits have already begun the endless debate over whether Mr. Romney’s wealth and religion are hindrances or assets. But there has yet to be any discussion over the one quality that has subtly fueled his candidacy thus far and could well put him over the top in the fall: his race. The simple, impolitely stated fact is that Mitt Romney is the whitest white man to run for president in recent memory. 
Of course, I’m not talking about a strict count of melanin density. I’m referring to the countless subtle and not-so-subtle ways he telegraphs to a certain type of voter that he is the cultural alternative to America’s first black president. It is a whiteness grounded in a retro vision of the country, one of white picket fences and stay-at-home moms and fathers unashamed of working hard for corporate America. 
... Contrast that with Mr. Romney’s meticulously cultivated whiteness. He is nearly always in immaculate white shirt sleeves. He is implacably polite, tossing off phrases like “oh gosh” with Stepford bonhomie.

Somebody a little less hot under the collar with resentments he doesn't quite understand than Siegel might notice that Romney's affect has probably held him back more in the 2008 and 2012 GOP campaigns than it has helped him.

By the way, is wearing clean clothes really a dead give-away that the wearer is white? I hadn't actually noticed that. I have noticed that the Japanese tend to be polite, even "implacably polite," so I guess that makes the Japanese white.

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whereas Obama's mom was from the ghetto...

...oh, wait, I meant a Doctor of Anthropology. You know, blue-collar, regular gal.

Anonymous said...

Check out Mitt Romney's Mexican relatives. CNN found his relatives in Mexico and it adds another bit of truth to the HBD case.

Anonymous said...

There is plenty of self-hating white commentary on this article over at the NYT. I don't like the rigmarole of registering on sites like that, but I was tempted. I wanted to ask Mr Siegal if he was, on the basis of his theory, therefore supporting Mitt Romney or opposing, because he never actually said.
Gilbert Pinfold

beowulf said...

Romney's Ned Flanders vibe probably helps him.

Sparks said...

Classic moment of Romney trying to be black . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDwwAaVmnf4

RKU said...

Ha, ha---watch out! That Lee Siegel idiot was busted a few years back for going on the comment forum for one of his stupid TNR articles and pretending to be different people praising it to the skies and saying that Siegel was an absolute literary genius whose great writing skill they longed to possess. Since all the legitimate commenters thought the article was dreadful, they gradually began to suspect something and accused Siegel of being there as a sock-puppeteer. Siegel, being just as dishonest as he was incompetent, naturally denied the accusations over and over again, but eventually someone at TNR checked the IP addresses, and sure enough it was him! This got him fired from TNR. There was a big article about the scandal in the NYT at the time.

The fact that the NYT would today publish a "cultural critic" so dishonest that he was fired from TNR reflects the tremendous ongoing decline of the Gray Lady.

So let's not be too surprised if a host of new commenters suddenly appear praising Siegel's brilliance. Or maybe Siegel's already been here all along, and he calls himself "Whiskey"...

Anonymous said...

Saw this earlier today. Wow, how far does the NYT have to sink? I keep thinking they've reached bottom but N000000000000000000.

Kylie said...

Funny, in a rancid sort of way, to see some leftist complaining tht Romney is using his whiteness to run for the presidency--in a country that is still, much to the writer's chagrin, majority white.

How dare he?

Of course Obama's droppin' those g's, referring to his mom on food stamps, warning blacks against being "bamboozled", dismissing his own grandmother as a "typical white person", etc. while campaigning were all just evidence of his authenticity.

Geoff Matthews said...

So, a successful job, an exemplar family life, and a skeleton-free history all equal white?

How is this not racist?

Anonymous said...

Look on the bright side: Mr. Siegel has just admitted that politeness is a white trait. Hmm, on that account maybe I should accuse him of racism in his article's comments.

Udolpho.com said...

wasn't Lee Siegel the guy who got caught using sock puppets to attack his detractors in the comments sections of his own columns? that name sure sounds awfully familiar...

DaveinHackensack said...

"Romney's Ned Flanders vibe probably helps him."

Nah, Steve's right. It makes him seem fake, even though he really is a Ned Flanders.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, gee, I didn't realize that 'whiteness' was a pejorative.

Otto Kerner said...

Somebody a little less hot under the collar with resentments he doesn't quite understand might also have realized that he was implying that black people don't wear nice clothes, aren't polite, and don't have bonhomie.

Noah172 said...

Siegel, hmmmmm.

Is he of the Dumfries Siegels or the Dundee Siegels? What does the family tartan look like?

Humansville said...

Lee Siegel is disproportionately white.

W00tTangClan said...

A shame. Siegal is an outstanding writer of prose, when he's not making dumb arguments. iSteve readers who are themselves not gripped by "resentments they don't quite understand" ought to be able to appreciate him.

eh said...

Yes, there was so much wrong with America in the '50s.

Siegel lives in Montclair, New Jersey with his wife and two children.

Demographics of Montclair, NJ.

So why do some people resent the role Jews play in the debate over the 'National Question'?

Anonymous said...

Unforgiveable Whiteness: the rise and fall of Mitt Romney

Anonymous said...

re: Romney's Mexican relatives.

Something tells me that these particular Hispanics won't do too badly on SAT and educational achievement. Oh wait, it's because of their privileged position in Mexico. Silly me.

Peter A said...

The hatred and fear that Jews have for WASPs is really the untold story of why American liberalism has gone so far off the rails over the past 50 years. I have seen the subject addressed obliquely in movies - the Cohen Bros' brilliant film "A Serious Man" is at heart mostly about Jewish alienation from the WASP world, or the dinner scene in "Annie Hall" - but has anyone ever studied the topic seriously?Even the neocon strain of conservatism is arguably based in a Jewish attempt to purge conservatism of its traditional WASP elements - isolationism, fiscal restraint, etc. To be clear, I don't think there is a Jewish conspiracy, I think there are simply deep rooted prejudices in Ashkenazi culture that many Jews are not even consciously aware they have. And to some extent I think Italian-Americans are guilty of a similar attitude, often even identifying more with the Jewish experience in America than the WASP experience.

Anonymous said...

W00tTangClan - A shame. Siegal is an outstanding writer of prose, when he's not making dumb arguments. iSteve readers who are themselves not gripped by "resentments they don't quite understand" ought to be able to appreciate him.

Well I for one salute Mr. Siegal for dropping by, creating a sock puppet and having the balls to admit he was making a dumb argument.

miss marple said...

" I have noticed that the Japanese tend to be polite, even "implacably polite," so I guess that makes the Japanese white."

And I've observed Japanese males being incredibly rude and contemptuous without provocation. You obviously haven't met them all.

Would you weirdos please stop trying to define "whiteness" then presenting you and your friends as the perfect examples. First of all, the idea for a blog such as this, the rudeness and the incessant whining about obscure anthropological theories, isn't something a real white guy would come up with. Sorry, but it's true. Second, your total ineptness with women. Real white men get along just fine with the opposite sex. Even the aspergery ones will have discovered common ground, i.e. stuff that women like, to discuss in mixed company. This is part and parcel of politeness.

Being an arrogant churl then getting more sexist and resentful when the problem is that YOU are not communicating effectively isn't a white trait. It's an Asian one.

"Nah, Steve's right. It makes him seem fake, even though he really is a Ned Flanders."

Extreme masculinity restrained by good manners does not a Ned Flanders make. There's nothing effeminate or daffy about Mitt "Dog Strapped to the Roof" Romney.

It is long past time to shoot this blog. You're not emulating him well in style or intention. Give up, already. I keep thinking either Sailer died or you actually paid him for iSteve. Not being able to come up with original ideas is also not very white of you.

Anonymous said...

Real white people avoid being paternalistic with other adults.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Romney could shore up his multiculti bonafides with a show of smug indignation (or mild Obama-like hauteur) next time a reporter asks about his being Mormon.

miss marple said...

You malingerers on iSteve are definitely exhibiting a culture but it's not based in race nor ethnicity. I'm guessing it's military or maybe police though I can't see how or why police would engage in incessant whining over things outside their jurisdiction. I wouldn't think military would engage in this behavior either but some information I've inadvertently been given suggests that military are somehow being deployed against the civilian population and have been for quite some time.

I know it's almost an oxymoron to say "military culture" but no other institution would have the jurisdiction or the incredibly cheap (getting what you paid for) manpower. Whoever you are, you aren't the arbiters of what constitutes "whiteness". Higher status whites avoid taking jobs that involve meddling in the affairs of their neighbors which is what you people are doing. Sure they might guess at what's wrong with the world but they'd never organize to try and parent/nag neighbors they deem to be functioning subpar. No other ethnic group I've interacted with does much of this either so stop conflating the traits of an ethnic group with the culture of the institution to which you all belong.

You act like hall monitors who don't have any real power or any real advantage over those you deem to shepherd in some way but you really, really want your peers to fear and obey you.

Ed said...

This is another nonsense article from the New York Times.

Romney does give off a Ned Flanders, 1950s vibe, but that is more of a Mormon thing. Why alot of Mormons went in for that style is an interesting question. So to is the differences between the Jewish and the Mormon approach to integrating as a religious minority in the U.S.

dearieme said...

" I guess that makes the Japanese white.' They were classified as "honorary white" under Apartheid.

morleysafer said...

Wow, was the Times acquired by Slate? Putting aside that Barack is the "culturally" whitest black guy in history. He would've reached for that I Love Lucy zinger... And seems to like golf even more than Sailer does. Of course he looks too frail now to endure a game of Horse

Anonymous said...

To be clear, I don't think there is a Jewish conspiracy, I think there are simply deep rooted prejudices in Ashkenazi culture that many Jews are not even consciously aware they have
also remember many east european jews are literally only one generation from a medieval village filled with hatred and superstition - even the atheists rational ones - or perhaps, particularly the atheist rational ones.

Anonymous said...

whiteness grounded in a retro vision of the country, one of white picket fences and stay-at-home moms and fathers unashamed of working hard for corporate America.

We all know that 'whiteness' is pejorative - i hear this in nyc constantly.

Of course one can ask a simple question... what's wrong with mom's staying home? What's wrong with working hard? this is 'retro' ?

... this is right out of Culture of Critique

Bill said...

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama's accents and voices bear an uncanny similarity. This may be what annoys me most about the both of them. They both kind of sound like they are quacking when they talk.

Maybe it's a Harvard thing...

Anonymous said...

So basically, being wel-mannered, well-spoken and well presented are thought of these days as being 'white' traits.
I don't know if this is supposed to be flattering, attacking or ridiculing or what, but surely the converse must be it is deeply insulting to every other American ethnicity other than white which must by implication display all the negatives associated with good manners, speech and appearance.
As if being deficient in these things is anything to be proud of.But then again considering modern 'American culture' with its rap, trashy movies, Jerry Springer etc.....

Drawbacks said...

"Mitt Romney's father, George -- who also ran for president in the United States -- was born in this area himself in a town called Colonia Dublan." -- cnn.com
"Romney and his family fled Mexico in 1912 prior to the Mexican Revolution. However, the Naturalization Act of 1795 repealed the Act of 1790 and removed the language explicitly stating that the children of U.S. citizens are natural-born citizens. As such, it is not clear that Romney was actually eligible for the office of president." -- wikipedia
Now, this I never knew.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the NYT would today publish a "cultural critic"
a culture of critiquer is more like it.

Dahinda said...

Is he saying that black people are not polite?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Tina Turner would sing that song?

W Baker said...

Yep, white as Bob Dole and equally electable! At least Willard uses the first person singular when talking though - and for the now neoconservative-dominated GOP, that's a substantive policy difference.

Hacienda said...

"The hatred and fear that Jews have for WASPs is really the untold story of why American liberalism has gone so far off the rails over the past 50 years."

Only the Jews? What about Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Arabs, Mexicans, Catholics, the underclass, Marxists, feminists, gays, old people, the criminal, the poor, the high IQ, professors, taxi drivers, Indians, natives, PETA, Buddhists, Iranians, computer professionals, Irish, Scots, all of SE Asia, etc.

Stop blaming the JEWS!!!! LOL.

Irwina said...

"Or maybe Siegel's already been here all along, and he calls himself "Whiskey"..."

Or Half Sigma. Oh wait, Half's sock puppets are usually female and haunt the "manosphere". Those guys cannot detect sock puppets to save their lives. Worse than libertarians. BTW, Manosphere readers, he's got at least one there, who's been there, and it is....
Nah! Y'all richly deserve him.

Mr. Anon said...

I have heard rumors (I do not know the veracity of them) that George Romney was not a US citizen when Mitt was born. Under some interpertations of the law, this would render Romney inelligible for office.

In any event, why has the media been so silent about Romney's mexican roots? His father was born there, in one of the Mormon colonies that was established there so that Mormons could continue practicing polygamy. And the Mormon church, it's growth among whites stagnant, is betting it's future on the hispanic tide. This does not augur well for Romney's real intentions on immigration and amnesty. The last thing we need is another Republican President like G.W. Bush, with ties to Mexico.

Georgia Resident said...

"So, a successful job, an exemplar family life, and a skeleton-free history all equal white?"

Pretty much.

Anonymous said...

It's apparently not racist to believe that politeness and middle class sobriety are intrinsically white traits. Who knew?

-osvalod M.

Florida resident said...

John McWhorter:
"A New York Times Op-Ed That Would Have Appalled Martin Luther King"

http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/99668/martin-luther-king-lee-siegel-race

Respectfully, F.r.

Kylie said...

"Siegal is an outstanding writer of prose, when he's not making dumb arguments."

So he's an outstanding stylist even though the substance of what he writes is often dumb. Nice recommendation. So 21st century.

"iSteve readers who are themselves not gripped by 'resentments they don't quite understand' ought to be able to appreciate him."

I understand my resentments very well, and why and how I came to have them so don't bother with the ad hominem. I won't say it's beneath you but I won't take the bait, either. I feel no obligation to appreciate someone's writing style even though he makes arguments that are lame, dishonest and anathema to my own beliefs.

SFG said...

"And to some extent I think Italian-Americans are guilty of a similar attitude, often even identifying more with the Jewish experience in America than the WASP experience."

No, that makes sense. They came over at the same time, lived in the same neighborhoods, and actually went into crime together, breaking the usual rule that crime families are mono-ethnic. There's even a play, quite popular in Long Island, 'My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish, and I'm in Therapy."

They even look kind of similar (and are the closest Europeans genetically to the Ashkenazim, as they've said on GNXP...I think the theory was it had something to do with Jewish population expansion during the Roman Empire).

You can find on Youtube a prank call where a Jewish girl tells her family she's marrying an Italian dude. They're angry as hell, but they never drop a racial slur once.

Now the Jewish resentment for WASPs...that's kind of stupid in this day and age. Though I have to wonder how much of it is really widespread and how much of it is the Hollywood screenwriter community. Media people seem to have a particular set of resentments I've never seen outside of the media, even among run-of-the-mill New York Jews. I think they go to Harvard and get angry at the guys who go into I-banking because they make more money and get hotter girls. Notice how they always identify with nerds even though they wouldn't know an equation if it hit them upside the head.

Anonymous said...

The simple, impolitely stated fact is that Mitt Romney is the whitest white man to run for president in recent memory.


Yawn. I remember when the view of the left was that George W Bush, a racist good ole boy from Texas, was the essence of whiteness. As always with the left it is pointless to spend time in refuting their logical premises, because they don't really believe what they're saying in the first place. (Other than the unspoken meta-argument of "We don't like non-Jewish white people". But that needs psychoanalysis rather than logical analysis)

Black Sea said...

Would that we could all be so white, less the Mormonism, of course.

jz said...

Obama's uniform includes " an immaculate white shirt." Does that make him white?

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

Nah, Steve's right. It makes him seem fake, even though he really is a Ned Flanders.

Romney is a bizarre combination of Ned Flanders and Montgomery Burns.

I am Lugash.

Anonymous said...

"Even the neocon strain of conservatism is arguably based in a Jewish attempt to purge conservatism of its traditional WASP elements - isolationism, fiscal restraint, etc."

But there has never been a one-wasp strain in American politics. Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were both wasps but both were into expanded government and America's imperial mission around the world. While the conservative strain of wasp-ism has been 'isolationist', the other strain, perhaps more powerful, has been 'change the world'. So, while Jews have been opposing wasp 'isolationism', they became the heirs of wasp liberalism.
Since liberals and progressives were always more committed, creative, and energized than conservatives, liberal wasps had gained an advantage over conservative wasps long before the rise of Jews. (Even Herbert Hoover was something of a save-the-world wasp.)

riches said...

Peter A’s thoughtful comments had me nodding along until he named a group closely identifying with the Jew’s experience and interests.

If there’s a white Catholic ethnic group that delivered the Eastern and Midwest big cities into the bailiwick and coffers of the tribe, the Italians aren’t it.

C. Van Carter said...

Michael Medved:

On New Hampshire primary night, the beaming appearance of the Romney clan made one of my friends physically ill: "All those handsome, perfectly controlled, wealthy, teetotalers with their gorgeous wives—I wanted to vomit. There was something unearthly about it. Like some weird superior race on the planet Krypton."

peterike said...

What's race got to do, got to do with it?
What's race, but a lower class white-notion?
What's race got to do, got to do with it?
Who needs a race
When a race can be broken?

Anonymous said...

"All those handsome, perfectly controlled, wealthy, teetotalers with their gorgeous wives—I wanted to vomit."


Sounds to me like you need to upgrade your class of friends. That's far left-style envy right there.

Anonymous said...

Peter A’s thoughtful comments had me nodding along until he named a group closely identifying with the Jew’s experience and interests.


If there’s a white Catholic ethnic group that delivered the Eastern and Midwest big cities into the bailiwick and coffers of the tribe, the Italians aren’t it.



Eh, you're an idiot.

People who hang out at NBD blogs have their own biases and hang-ups. I suppose that's true of every self-selecting group of people. Still, some of the pre-conceptions and mis-conceptions around here are just blatently at odds with reality. For instance, in another thread recently people were claiming that black guys mugging grandmothers showed show "masculine" and "aggressive" they are.

As for Italians, they were for a very long time a vital cog in the Democratic machine in Eastern and Midwest big cities. They still are to some extent, though they've moved rightwards over the years like all whites. So why so many people here long to view Italian-Americans as being the "good" non-WASP whites is a mystery. Politically speaking they are somewhat to the left of the Irish and to the right of the Poles.

Anonymous said...

there has never been a one-wasp strain in American politics. Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt were both wasps but both were into expanded government and America's imperial mission around the world. While the conservative strain of wasp-ism has been 'isolationist', the other strain, perhaps more powerful, has been 'change the world'.



But "change the world" vs "isolationism" is not the debate which is at issue. The problem at hand is not "change the world", it is "change America". You can say a lot of things about FDR, but not that he had an agenda to transform America into a non-white country. That particular idea only took root from the 1960's on.

Maya said...

I think what the writer's saying is that wearing clean clothes and acting polite is a CODE that white people use to communicate their contempt for the other races to each other. Romney is using his demeanor as a secret language to reach out to all you racists. Basically, each time two white men in well fitting suits shake hands and inquire about each other's wives' well being, they are really relaying messages regarding the next kkk meeting, in code.

Anonymous said...

Romney seems to harken back to Coolidge and that stirs up a lot of angst on the left and within certain ethnic groups on the left.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anon said...

"I have heard rumors (I do not know the veracity of them) that George Romney was not a US citizen when Mitt was born. Under some interpertations of the law, this would render Romney inelligible for office."

So what where his dad was born. Mitt Romney was born in Michigan, making him a natural-born US citizen. What the hell do you think all this talk about anchor babies and illegal immigration has been about?

Anonymous said...

I always loved having Mormon kids in class. They were well-behaved, hard-working, and some of the brightest kids I had ever had. Oh, yeah, they were white too.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Extreme masculinity restrained by good manners does not a Ned Flanders make. There's nothing effeminate or daffy about Mitt "Dog Strapped to the Roof" Romney."

Who said anything about Mitt being effeminate? I never said that. Flanders isn't effeminate either. Neither is he really daffy -- just guileless -- though the writers give him sillier catch phrases than "oh gosh". Flanders is modeled on an archetype found in real life, one you'd be familiar with if you'd met successful Mormons. These are good men, who seem inauthentic only because coastal elites such as Siegel have never met one in real life.

By the way, there is nothing particularly masculine about strapping a dog crate to the roof of your car. I'm not sure where you got that idea.

Carol said...

When I lived in Las Vegas, Mormons were the adults in charge of the operation, working for the Mafia and then later for corporate owners. Oh, and Mormons were big customers too.

I think there's something to that staying sober thing, and not cranking on caffeine all the time.

David said...

>What's race, but a lower class white-notion?<

You must be a chav, then.

Anonymous said...

Still, Lee Siegel is a fabulously entertaining writer.
--Morgan C (not Sprezzatura, I swear!)

Hacienda said...

If I lived a world of mages and power-ups and secret sacramental articles found on the ground. Exactly like in the World of Warcraft, I would really like this man- Mitt Romney.

But since I don't live in the World of Warcraft, but apparently Mitt Romney does, I say it's about as valuable as a deed to an acre of land in Asheron that Romney has good manners and a fine tailor.

Anonymous said...

Higher status whites avoid taking jobs that involve meddling in the affairs of their neighbors which is what you people are doing. Sure they might guess at what's wrong with the world but they'd never organize to try and parent/nag neighbors they deem to be functioning subpar.

Yes, how dare whites attempt to influence the societies they live in! They should leave that to their betters who conceived--er, I mean, built--er, I mean, sustain--well, they may not have done anything to merit their exalted position above whites, but, you know, if you don't concede all your power to them, you're a very bad very evil very bigoted very hateful person, you racist bigot.

peterike said...

>What's race, but a lower class white-notion?<

You must be a chav, then.

Oi! I guess I wasn't very clear. My little feeble song parody was meant to be what a Lee Seigel would say.

It might have helped if I made that in the least bit clear.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

"Of course, I’m not talking about a strict count of melanin density... (I'm talking about the voices in my head.)"

BTW, excellent comment, Maya.

Anonymous said...

"If there’s a white Catholic ethnic group that delivered the Eastern and Midwest big cities into the bailiwick and coffers of the tribe..."

Top of the morning to you.

morleysafer said...

As for Italians, they were for a very long time a vital cog in the Democratic machine in Eastern and Midwest big cities--don't know the Midwest, but in the northeast the come-lately Italians aligned with Republicans (in Chris Matthew's succinct explanation, "Because the Irish already took the jobs"). Living in Mass. I considered it odd, prominent local GOP more often than not w/ obviously Italian surnames, but they were clearly LaGuardia/Connie Morella-style Republicans, same as in NYC and Philadelphia; I think a reason this held on is that the Italians take abortion more seriously. But in states w/o Irish machines you had Tommy D'Alesandro or Ella Grasso type of pols.

Jack said...

"The last thing we need is another Republican President like G.W. Bush, with ties to Mexico."

Romney is the only man running for president who opposes illegal alien amnesty and has the media scorn to prove it.

Time to give up the Romney-hate and get on board.

dcite said...

I've known plenty of Italians in an east coast city that actually has a living Little Italy. I went to school with them, worked with them, and have had plenty of contact. I have not noticed them identifying with Jews. Geez. The Pope was always Italian, fcol. Julius Caesar. Marc Antony. Dante. DaVinici. Mona Lisa. Gina Lollabrigida. Ooops--she was French.
Probably a few eccentrics id's with Jews, and Jewish Italian marriages must be great for the culinarily-inclined, but not the bunch. Generally, they do have a strong aversion to blacks (those who are working class especially) and the Italian dad of a girl I went to school with, blamed the atom bomb on the Jews.
Italians have intermarried with non-Italian Europeans, and nowadays in most places, people with Italian ancestry don't look starkly different from people of more northern ancestry. Indeed, many of them never did anyway.
When I was in school, some of the Italians stood out for their black hair, but never in a million years did I associate them with any "darker" race. They were just Italians, a kind of white person from Italy, a little darker in the hair & eyebrows, and coming back from the beach a little tanner at the end of the summer.
But please--they did not identify with Jews. As another commenter pointed out, people in the media really live in their own world, with a whole set of resentments and issues most other people don't have.
You know who identified with Jews while growing up? Me. The Irish kid. Don't ask me why -- just an eccentricity.

Whiskey said...

Yes Whiteness is a handicap in this country. Most SWPL, aka "Better sort of White people" ... the Puritan cultural descendants, figure "White Ain't Right" and totemize Black people as some sort of magical item of goodness, as objects not people.

"Boring White Guy" is a pejorative. The way "Ghetto Black guy" could never be. All we've done in the Post Civil Rights Era is replace White with Black as the officially discriminated group. The sole exception are White guys who "act Black" and have a "Black Big Man" persona -- Bill Clinton, Charlie Sheen, to an extent Robert Downey Jr.

Actors like say, Hugh Laurie or Damien Lewis or Colin Firth with more reserved, cerebral approaches have to play crippled, raging braniancs, or bad guys, or stuttering Kings to get noticed. The Black affect, super-Alpha type is in. Mostly because the higher income female demo rewards it, culturally.

Whiskey said...

Jews are a symptom of what's going on, not a cause. You'll find the same exact attitudes among Maureen Dowd, or Chris Matthews, or Nancy Pelosi, or Tina Fey, or any of those folks.

You are looking for some political-ethnic conspiracy, some magic bullet, some nefarious evil-doers you can expose and get a cheap and easy victory.

Almost all of this is deep rooted, cultural changes hitting the high end of the middle class, and the upper classes, of which Jews and some high-achieving parts of Irish, Italians, WASPs are a part of. You'll find it in Germany or Sweden, where there are effectively no Jews. Fjordman writes about that in Norway all the time -- no Jews there. Modern society made us rich, safe, and secure, but not very sexy.

Hence the constant search among Upper Class women for a game of "spot the true Alpha" and disdain for the traditional culture that hems in however slightly female sexual choice, and is "boring" -- when you see "boring/White" paired together that's a dead giveaway about female preference.

Boring is about the worst insult a woman can give a man. Boring Whiteness is a red flag, upper class women and often middle class ones don't find their guys sexy.

Drunk Idiot said...

"As for Italians, they were for a very long time a vital cog in the Democratic machine in Eastern and Midwest big cities"

MorleySafer said,

"(Don't) know the Midwest, but in the northeast the come-lately Italians aligned with Republicans"

Morley,

It's safe to assume that in the original poster's comment, the "Midwest" = Chicago.

Is there another city in the Midwest has a large, political power-wielding Italian population? Indianapolis? "Minnesota Nice" Minneapolis-St. Paul? Omaha? Fargo? Branson, MO?

Sure, Cleveland had a sizable Italian community and had Italian organized crime. But by the early 70s, Italian power was in such decline that Irishman Danny Greene more or less pushed the Italians out of Cleveland's rackets (until New York mobsters got sick of Cleveland mobsters' ineptitude and sent in a pro to take finally Greene out).

St. Louis has a traditional Italian neighborhood called "the Hill," but there isn't a big Italian population in the gateway city. And the Italians who are there don't wield big political power or have a big cultural footprint. St. Louis is a very German town.

Chicago stands alone as the only city in the Midwest that has a large, politically and culturally significant Italian community.

Just a guess, but the commenter was probably thinking of Italians in New York, Boston, Philadephia, Providence, etc. So he grouped those cities together as "Eastern big cities." He probably also thought of Italian political power in Chicago, and thus added "the Midwest" to the Eastern big cities.

Anonymous said...

When I was in school, some of the Italians stood out for their black hair, but never in a million years did I associate them with any "darker" race. They were just Italians, a kind of white person from Italy, a little darker in the hair & eyebrows, and coming back from the beach a little tanner at the end of the summer.
But please--they did not identify with Jews



Regardless of whether or not they "identify" with Jews, the fact remains that they were long an integral part of the Democratic big city machine. Not so much these days, but still, Italian-American political figures have included Nancy Pelosi and Rudy Guliani. Even when they're Republican, they're often liberal.

Anonymous said...

I don't know the Midwest, but in the northeast the come-lately Italians aligned with Republicans


They did nothing of the sort. Even today, after moving to the right for several decades, they "are evenly split among the three political parties: 35 percent Republican; 32 percent, Democrat; and 33 percent Independent", according to the National Italian American Foundation.

http://www.niaf.org/research/contribution.asp

morleysafer said...

Drunk Idiot: that is interesting to learn about Cleveland, but I did not think of the Italians as politically powerful in Chicago's machine either. In one passage from Mike Royko's "Boss" he describes a large Italian neighborhood being eminently domained for the UIC campus.

Anonymous 12:35 AM: What's your point? Republican pols in Mass, R.I., NY/NJ, and further down the line are frequently Italian. It's not due to pure conservative ideology.

Jim said...

Steve, I interpreted Romney's aura on a different prism.

Romney is rich. The public would not stand for a slovenly, angry or otherwise untidy rich man. He has nothing to be angry about. He could not be forgiven for that.

Better to project the image of a competent manager. Since a President usually only has time to do one thing, he is arguably angling in the right direction.

Jack said...

dcite - did many of the Italians you know dislike Jews or think of them as competition? Or did they just treat them like anyone else?

sideways said...

" So what where his dad was born. Mitt Romney was born in Michigan, making him a natural-born US citizen. What the hell do you think all this talk about anchor babies and illegal immigration has been about?"


The backup backup plan for some Birthers was to say that even though Obama was born here he wasn't a NBC because his father wasn't a citizen.

sideways said...

While most of them would concede he's a citizen.

Drunk Idiot said...

morleysafer,

The neighborhood you're referring to is Chicago's official "Little Italy"/Taylor St. area ("official" because it's the "Little Italy" that's officially designated as "Little Italy" on the map -- there are, however, four different [and geographically dispersed] Chicago neighborhoods which bill themselves as "Little Italy").

The land grab in Little Italy has always been a little perplexing. It happened in the 60s, during the elder Daly's administration. It's long been understood that the Outfit put Daly in office back in the 50s ... ironically, under the guise that Daly was an anti-corruption "reformer" (Chicago's Italian "mafia" calls itself the "Outfit"). Like many prominent Chicago Machine pols, Daly came from Bridgeport -- a mobbed-up Italian/Irish neighborhood on the South Side (and home to the Chicago White Sox). The mob was always the muscle behind the Daly machine. Even in recent years, with the Outfit in steep decline, mob-connected businesses remained the big beneficiaries of "no bid" contracts with the younger Daly's machine.

Since the days of Al Capone, the Chicago Machine power structure has been: Irish politicians out front; Italian mob/business/political muscle behind the scenes; Jewish brains even further behind the scenes (not to be confused with
'anti-machine' Jewish radical agitators from Hyde Park, like Saul Alinsky & Abner Mikva). There's even a long Chicago tradition of made guys serving as prominent aldermen (a tradition that allegedly continues to this day).

Although it's by no means the only good source, Robert Cooley's "When Corruption Was King" has a great explanation of the symbiotic relationship between Italian organized crime, Irish political power and Chicago business (the Irish Cooley is a Chicago mob lawyer-turned FBI informant).

So on the surface, the eminent domain break up of Little Italy seems incongruent. I don't know the "who and whom" of that deal, since I wasn't around back then. But knowing Chicago, I wouldn't be surprised the payoff to Italian interests (there had to be a big payoff somewhere) came in the form of building contracts/etc.

The other big land grab by Daly-the-Elder was the one that allowed O'Hare airport to be built. O'Hare sits in the center of one of the most Italian, and mob-controlled areas this side of Sicily. Italians were certainly displaced to make way for O'Hare. But O'Hare ended up being a windfall for the mob. Make no mistake, a percentage of every dollar spent at O'Hare -- from the airport contracts, to the hotel and convention business, to the legitimate overflow business, to the not-so-legitimate overflow business (strip joints and "massage parlors" are plentiful just outside of O'Hare) -- makes its way into Outfit hands.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Italian Americans really identify with Jews per se, but I don't think that they are more anti-Jewish than other white groups are.
I think Italian Americans WOULD probably identify with Jews more than with some groups of non-urban, non-Northeastern white gentiles- e.g. Utah Mormons, Minnesota Lutherans,Scots-Irish from Appalachia.
I have never heard anything like this op-ed from any of my Italian-American family or friends. And I doubt that the sentiments are that common among Jews either. Like dcite says, a lot of Jews in the media seem to have resentments and issues that are probably not widely shared or expressed among Jews in general.

dcite said...

"dcite - did many of the Italians you know dislike Jews or think of them as competition? Or did they just treat them like anyone else?"

Not competition in the working class SEC I'm thinking of. I worked in a small import-export office with a lot of white ethnics, including Italians, and the owners were Jewish. Comedy central generally. Nobody "hated" the jews, just didn't "get" them. A general feeling of a lack of trust, perhaps, but not too serious because the non-Jews were not really wanting any of the positions the Jewish staff held. There was some grumbling, esp when smoked salmon replaced cold cuts at the Christmas party. But Everybody got along more or less. The Italians & non-Italians didn't differentiate much, though I'm sure the parents like the idea of the kids marrying into their own ethnic group, but not enough to make a fuss about it. One Italian girl's dad worked in the steel mill, told his daughter he'd kill her (or maybe it was himself altho Catholics are averse to suicide) if she brought home a black guy, but gave his own shirt to black man working near the boiling metal because the black guy was so poor he didn't have the right kind of clothes to protect himself.
I truly think it was a religious thing from the old country and an ethnic thing in this country. It was also based simply on fact:the usual suspects disproportionately involved in international banking/financial/social manipulation; but also in so many areas that "turned us on" in a good way, that none of us felt seriously anti-Jewish. It's only recently that I have been facing certain facts and really wish a genuine honesty would open up. If we can't admit these things, we can't do anything about them.
Moral of this story: It's just silly to think that dark hair makes you non-racist and likely to id w/Jewish folk. Ever hear of the Turks & Armenians?

Maya said...

I don't know about the whole "White and boring" thing here, Whiskey. According to Wikipedia, Romney's had an interesting life, done things, been places. And wait... I'm having even more trouble grasping this new, non-scientific definition of "Alpha" than I usually do. Romney isn't alpha either? Does one absolutely have to smack bitches around and/or be black to reach the alpha status? I gather that being tall, handsome and popular, being successful and a leader to one's peers, and marrying the woman that everyone probably wanted (God, young Mrs. Romney looks like a movie star) with multiple children born of that union just isn't enough. I wonder if old Mitt cries himself to sleep every night because of his "betaness".

MQ said...

There is this weird sense in which devout Mormons come off 'whiter than white', by American (as opposed to European or British) standards of cultural 'whiteness'. It has something to do with American Protestant standards of puritanical behavior, not shared by other countries. I mean a devout Mormon has never let alcohol touch their lips, never had premartial or extramarital sex, they always seem to dress in perfect shiny 1950s suits, etc. It gives them a shiny glow and sometimes a vaguely plastic quality.

To be clear, I don't think there is a Jewish conspiracy, I think there are simply deep rooted prejudices in Ashkenazi culture that many Jews are not even consciously aware they have

Yeah, like there are no resentments or prejudices between other ethnic groups in American life. Particularly rich to hear people on this site claiming that. Also, you are mistaking a particular strain of post-60s New York liberal Jews for Jews in general. Ashkenazi Jews had a long love affair with American culture...a fair number of monuments of general American culture identified today with WASP hegemony are the products of Jews, from songs like God Bless America and White Christmas to most Hollywood movies made during the Golden Age of the 1930s-1950s, when Jews dominated Hollywood even more than they do today. Funny how you see the latest Hollywood swill tagged on the Jewish Conspiracy but never any mention of movies by David Selznick, George Cukor, MGM, etc.

dcite said...

"Gina Lollabrigida. Ooops--she was French."

Got her mixed up with Claudia Cardinale. Gina was Italian.

tuppence said...

"I wonder if old Mitt cries himself to sleep every night because of his "betaness".

yeah. I don't do party politics (except for Ron Paul) but it's truly mind-boggling how so many commentators here define "alpha" as people barely above gorilla intelligence, no ethnic slurs intended.
Personally i think there's a lot to be said in favor of HBD, but sometimes it gets embarrassing when the believers tip their own chamber pots on their heads.

alonzo portfolio said...

Italian-American political figures have included Nancy Pelosi and Rudy Guliani. Even when they're Republican, they're often liberal.


Don't forget George Moscone. Arguably, he launched the gay mafia that now runs San Francisco.