Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Huffington Post :: Obama, Clinton, and the Spectre of the Culture Wars – Politics on The Huffington Post

My first blog entry is up at HuffPost. Check this preview:

In Iowa last Tuesday, a man–a good friend and a brilliant professor named Kembrew McLeod, actually–dressed up as a robot–yes, a robot–to heckle Bill Clinton on, of all things, the infamous 1992 Sister Souljah incident.

You may remember that one: at a crucial moment in his presidential campaign, Clinton seized on a decontextualized quote by the rapper about the Los Angeles riots to reassure white voters that he was solidly on their team. (Then he went on Arsenio Hall to play a disastrous sax solo.)

So against the round booing of 400 FOBs–none of whom, it may be safely presumed, had ever been forcibly detained like Wen Ho Lee–my-friend-the-robot dropped a club promoter’s amount worth of flyers that detailed Clinton’s disservices to racial justice while, at the top of his lungs, demanding on behalf of all robots that the Great Triangulator apologize to Souljah.

It’s true that a lot has changed since then. A rap group even won an Academy Award. And I’m still not sure why my man needed to be in a robot suit. But he had a point.

The resentments that made it possible for Bill Clinton to summon race, class, and generation divides to scold youths of color into behaving properly towards nice middle-of-the-road voters haven’t disappeared. Think of how the Don Imus firing turned into a referendum on rap earlier this year. (And think of how much money Imus received to return to the airwaves.) Think of the 50 noose incidents in the two months since the march on Jena in September.

The culture wars have never really ended…

Click here to read the whole thang.

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