Daily Archives: April 19, 2012


Sorry, but Brad Pitt’s not in this one.

It’s Michele Bachmann Vs. Van Dyke Parks



Here’s Jezebel with the details

“I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible for Michele Bachmann to resist the opportunity to say normal things in the stupidest, most offensive way possible. In an interview yesterday, she managed to make a conversation about high gas prices into an awkwardly racist moment where she accused the President of “waving a tar baby in the air.” She’s really got the gift.”

“The interview was with conservative blog The Shark Tank, the former Presidential candidate explained that President Obama is responsible for high gas prices, and that he’s always trying to blame others for his problems. Naturally, the normal person way to refer to this, for Bachmann, is to make it sound sort of racist.”


“This is just about waving a tar baby in the air and saying that something else is a problem. I have never seen a more irresponsible president who is infantile in the way that he continually blames everybody else for his failure to first diagnose the problem, and second, to address the problem. It’s always everyone else’s fault.”

“For those not schooled in the ways of fancy advanced racism: the phrase “tar baby” is occasionally used as a derogatory term for a black person. It’s also the name of a sort of sticky trap used by Uncle Remus in the Br’er Rabbit story that was in an awkwardly racist Disney story treasury that my grandparents used to have.”

You can get it on video — as a Japanese import.

This particular tale prior to Disneyfication was among those collected (not written) by one Joel Chandler Harris.
Such “Folk Tales” of African-American slaves were derived from African culture, as Van Dark Parks is at pains to point out in his song cycle Jump!


Here’s a marvelous interview in which Van Dyke reviews his life and art, Jump! very much included.

Needless to say the characters in Jump! as opposed to those in Song of the South represent actual people’s lives in all their love and pain.


Michele Bachmann knows neither love nor pain. Only ambition. And in that she’s rather like a Disney cartoon character.
As is her hubster Marcus

Can I get an “Oh Prunella!” ?

“But is she racist?” you ask. Perish the thought!

“And the backpedaling began almost immediately. A spokesperson explained that Bachmann meant the conversation about our black President in the “sticky trap made of tar” way and not in the “our black President is blacking around again” way.

“The congresswoman values all human life – regardless of race, color or creed. If you listen to the interview, Rep. Bachmann was making a point about the president’s poor understanding of oil prices, which has nothing to do with race. The president doesn’t understand the oil market and hence, has gotten himself into a sticky situation.”

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

“Even if she did mean it to mean “a sticky traplike situation,” doesn’t her use of the antique slang seem a little Freudian slip-y, at least? Earlier in the interview, she urged that, when examining Obama’s energy policy, we “call a spade a spade.”
“Spade” is another racist term occasionally used in reference to black people. Too bad she couldn’t work a casual reference to how the President is “enslaving” Americans in there.”

Oh we know precisely what she means, Jezebel. It’s call a “Dog Whistle”:

“Dog-whistle politics, also known as the use of code words, is a type of political campaigning or speechmaking which employs coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has a different or more specific meaning for a targeted subgroup of the audience. The term is invariably pejorative, and is used to refer both to messages with an intentional subtext, and those where the existence or intent of a secondary meaning is disputed. The term is an analogy to dog whistles, which are built in such a way that the high-frequency whistle is heard by dogs, but appears silent to human hearing.”

Enough with the dogs. Let’s get back to the rabbits — right Van Dyke?