Saturday, January 02, 2010

YOUR OWN LYIN' EYES. The meaning of the much-circulated Photoshop of Barack Obama as a shoeshine boy shining Sarah Palin's pumps is clearly understood by most people. We're sure the boys at Chimpout -- "Cops on Nigger Obama and shoeshine boy Gates" -- and Stormfront get the joke. See also Urban Dictionary, etc.

The image has turned up at Free Republic, SodaHead, and other places where you'd expect to see it. But other rightbloggers are going to great lengths to rehabilitate this ancient racist trope since it's been used on Obama.

One device they're using is the Democratic Party affiliation of one person whose handling of the photo made the news. "Her status as a registered Democrat cannot be ignored," says Patterico.

As the image was flagged by Charles Johnson, whose apostasy has made him a target of conservatives, this becomes a "My Hair is a Bird, Your Argument Is Invalid" line of defense among the brethen. "For someone so 'scientific' [as Johnson],'" says American Power, "real facts must have caused nasty bouts of cognitive dissonance and psychological displacement." Patterico's research is commended by America Daughter Media Center: "If a CJ makes a mistake, along comes a Patterico to correct it... bloggers are inheriting the mantle of the dying mainstream media."

Others are actually insisting that there's nothing racist about it. Tom Maguire, while conceding that "there are certainly some racial overtones of servitude to the shoe shine imagery," learns that Rush Limbaugh claims to have once been a shoeshine boy, thus cleansing the image of its racial associations.

Instapundit picks it up:
Or is it racist? Rush Limbaugh actually was a shoeshine boy. Yeah the racial stereotype is a bit shaky -- when I was a kid I knew older brothers of friends who did that; even in Birmingham, Alabama they were white. By the time I was a teenager, of course, shoeshines were on the way out.
And he's from Tennessee, so he should know. We also have Armed Liberal taking the things-are-complicated approach, whereby liberals of the unarmed kind are trying to make a "Big Story" out of what is actually the fascinatingly complex phenomenon of a black President pictured shining shoes. Plus he saw a black cashier being mean to an Asian.

Another Black Conservative testifies to the work ethic of black shoeshine men, which he suggests may be the real meaning of the photo. Certainly it's less demeaning than the job ABC's got.

Soon they'll be telling us that pictures of watermelons on the White House lawn are a tribute to Michelle Obama's garden, pictures of Obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose are a tribute to his rich cultural heritage, etc.

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