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October 23, 2012

Rob Schneider: "As a Liberal, As a Democrat, There's No Way I Can Support Barack Obama Again"

Three points:

No, Rob Schneider isn't influential.

But, this is more confirmation of the cascade. If you think maybe Rob Schneider's a little bit conservative because Adam Sandler's his pal, no, Rob Schneider is a way out there left liberal. Wayyy out there. I caught him on Adam Carolla a ways back (IIRC) and he was just silly. Peace this, vegan that.

I don't know the context for his rejection of Obama but I'm guessing when he speaks of "the bureaucracy" he probably means something to do with drone strikes.

Last point: They have an important mini-conversation about race. The point they agree on is that "we're going to have crappy black presidents just like we've had crappy white presidents; we don't keep a crappy president just because he's black, just the same as we don't keep a crappy white one."

That's an important statement about race. Counterintuitively, I think it's better for race relations if Obama is judged just like any other president and thus given the boot.

The election of Barack Obama was a powerful statement about progress in racial matters of the country. So, too, would be his defeat: Race doesn't matter, or, at least, shouldn't matter, and people will in fact look beyond color to judge the content of one's character.

Or, in this case, record.

This is an interesting point that John McWhorter and Glen Loury discussed a year ago. I wrote about it at the time:

he end (starting around 26:30, but there are preludes to the idea earlier) is about these two black guys trying to figure out, intellectually and personally, what an Obama 2012 loss means. Both voted for him and were "euphoric" over the election, they both say. And the interesting thing here is that they're guessing as to the black reaction to a loss, the natural tendency to take a loss by Obama as a loss themselves (in the exact same way an Obama win was a win for themselves), and what the whole reaction to that will say about equality in the end -- what I took from it is that they're saying blacks will be equal not only when a black man can be elected president ("as Jesus," McWhorter notes) and triumph, but also when he can lose and fail.

They don't precisely say that, but that's what they're talking about.

The Triumphant Jesus part is a sort of immature Hero's Narrative, the Magic Negro thing so beloved by Hollywood, because blacks remain in that sort of narrative not fully human, but abstracted symbols of virtue or dignity in oppression or what have you. Whereas a man failing is just a man failing -- and that's human, not symbolic.


Anyway, fairly interesting, especially about the last question, the -- for lack of a better word -- normalization of blackness, the routinization of coloredness, such that the failure and defeat of the Great Black Hope is... well, something that just happens, just as anyone might fail. Not something pregnant with heavy symbolism or Lessons About America -- just something that happens. Something human, and not something particularly freighted with Meaning just because the human who failed was darker skinned than some.

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posted by Ace at 02:48 PM

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