October 5, 2012

On intentionalism and “boys”

Kevin Baker, Harper’s:

[Obama]didn’t show a spark of anger, even when Romney slyly found a way to call him a boy, comparing Obama’s statements to the sorts of childish lies his ‘five boys’ used to tell.  How the right’s hard-core racists must have howled at that! Mitt, at long last, has secured his base.

Well, what can I say?  We allow such arguments because we allow (incorrectly and from a linguistic standpoint, incoherently) that legitimate methods of interpretation support the validity of these kinds of assertions — however likely it is that we’ll dismiss the assertions as, in individual cases, ludicrous and desperate attempts to take ownership over another’s meaning by trying to get a consensus of (motivated) intepreters to pretend the meaning they have replaced the original with is not only plausible, but, looked at purely textually, could be sold as a “reasonable” reading of the signs to a number of well-intentioned people unaware of how exactly language truly functions.

Important to note here is that, with Barker’s charge, we have the possibility of an actual interpretation:  that is, a deranged and race-baiting Kevin Barker might truly believe that Romney intended the use of “boy” to obliquely reference and then reinforce to his racist GOP base anti-black language that, from my experience at least, was last fashionable at around the time Opie Taylor was skipping rocks along Mayberry creeks; alternately, though, it could be that Barker doesn’t believe any such thing, but instead has decided he can suss racist language out of the transcript of Romney’s remarks, arrange that language in an “interpretation” he presents as  plausible, and then pin it to Romney regardless of the Governor’s intent, in effect replacing Romney’s signs with his own, and then attributing them to Romney.

In which case, he hasn’t interpreted at all.  Baker has simply replaced his own intent with Romney’s, then attributed to Romney the base intent that is in fact his own.

Intentionalism just is.

Which, while I’m on the subject, let me just say this:  Romney should be thanking his cultish God he didn’t have to call to his dog at any time during the debate with Obama.  If the dog was a boy dog, I mean.

Because, well

(h/t newrouter)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:46am

Comments (56)

  1. I think it was obvious that Romney was actually calling his boys lying little half breeds.

    They are the ones should be pissed.

  2. We are truly in fucking bizzaro world.

  3. My old handle still works on this computer. I wish I understood how this voodoo works.

  4. “If dog whistles can only be heard by dogs then, presumably, racist dog whistles can only be heard by racists. So, why is it that the only people who can hear all these ‘racist dog whistles’ are liberals?”

    The question answers itself.

  5. Mr. Baker, upon reading your entire article I find myself suddenly reminded that many of us have a sobriquet for our girl dogs. Too.

    Do you have a newsletter?

  6. it could be that Barker doesn’t believe any such thing, but instead has decided he can suss racist language out of the transcript of Romney’s remarks, arrange that language in an “interpretation” he presents as plausible, and then pin it to Romney regardless of the Governor’s intent, in effect replacing Romney’s signs with his own, and then attributing them to Romney.

    Yep. “Little bitch”. That’s it.

  7. It must be exhausting running around like Wee Willie Winky with his lamp. Instead of making sure all the children are tucked in their beds, Barker and his cohorts are busy looking for racists in the closets, under the beds and around every corner.

    If Obama doesn’t like being called a child who lies, he should probably grow up and quit lying for starters.

  8. I wish I understood how this voodoo works.

    – Voodoo Electronics; ibid: see Voodoo math, eg. Obama economics / employment report – http://www.cbo.gov, et al.

  9. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, that comparison between Obama and Romney’s sons was one of my favorite parts of the debate. Not because it calls Obama “boy” in some sort of dog whistle, but because it calls him a desperate, lying teenager.

    If the Palace Guard doesn’t get that phrase reassigned to RAAAAACISM! right quick, there’s a chance that the voters will hang on to the comparison. Can’t have the Jug-eared Jesus reduced to a whiny teen, now can we?

  10. Or in the words of Don Corleone: “ACT LIKE A MAN!”

  11. I’m sure that is exhausting, leigh. But imagine how exhausting it is for me to have to constantly correct the legitimization of this sophistry — very often to the protestations of those on “our” side (who are all, almost invariably) trained in law.

    You’d think they’d be originalists.

  12. Squid —

    Be galled that certain conservatives are perfectly fine with giving that gambit a kind of linguistic plausibility. When it fact its author should be drummed out of polite society and called out for the bigot and liar he is.

  13. – Romney bitch slapped Bummblefuck AND a goodly portion of his adult teenager following in one smooth stroke.

    – That’s definitely going to leave a mark on the over-educated moron gaggle.

  14. Incidentally, and I do mean incidentally, how and when did RACE! become the single greatest moral qualifier and imperative of this or any other time? Is it because races war? Is it because they fight in the streets?

    And if they had and did perfectly aligned by color, wouldn’t color still be an add-on effect, one that only indirectly pertained to the problems of, you know, robbery and assault and rape and enslavement and killing and all?

    Further, being’s I’m comfortable beating this little bitch to his own conclusion by proclaiming myself a Romney clone and therefore a deeply racist SOB at the top of my voice within the latitudes granted me by founding American contract, what business is it of his (er, hers)?

    So there’s another way to define this. Baker appears a cheap sensationalist lacking the integrity to do other than bang that same old battered pot against the bars of some ginned-up oppression only this market and he have chosen to continue to project into existence.

    Does racism exist? Sure it does. Is he seeking an end to it. No. No he is not seeking to reform so much as a dime’s worth of the mem and cheese and leavings the human race so routinely wallows in.

    I figure that’s at least as honest an appraisal as his. Hers.

  15. I betcha is was a lazy summer day when Opie skipped those rocks.

  16. Steph, at least Sununu didn’t call him “shif’less”. What a giveaway that would have been. @@

  17. A consistent phenomenon evident in these portraits is the way political ideology becomes subordinated to psychological needs and dysfunctions, transforming into a symbolic expression of the self and its traumas. Consider Bettina Aptheker, daughter of Herbert Aptheker, the American Communist Party’s “most prominent intellectual and ‘leading theoretician.'” Horowitz’s analysis of her memoir reveals how personal neuroses and failures become validated and glamorized by radical politics. The struggles against “social injustice” or “racism” are metaphors for the struggle against the trauma of her father’s sexual abuse of her, her ambivalence about her sexual identity, and her guilt about the serial betrayals of her husband and children: “What stands out as the theme of all her melodrama,” Horowitz writes, “is victimhood and a passive aggression against family, friends, and authority. It is this recurrent pattern of victimhood and aggression that links the personal to the political in Bettina’s life.” Violence against “the man” is in reality a fantasy retribution against all Aptheker’s victimizers, dressed up as a “revolution” aimed at bringing about the liberating utopia of social justice and equality.

    Aptheker’s journey to self-fulfillment moves from radical activism to teaching feminist ideology at UC Santa Cruz, and it ultimately ends in a vacuous form of Buddhism. Yet all these commitments are really about redeeming the self from responsibility: “Aptheker’s oaths were not binding commitments to others. They were about excusing herself, because she meant well. Which is, in the end, what her account of her life is all about, and also her political radicalism. The self is not accountable. It is others — Society — that are to blame.” Aptheker’s attempt to unite “class politics and identity politics and spiritual politics … is finally incoherent.” The irony is that people who claim to hate the selfish bourgeoisie and its supposedly corrupt individualism end up obsessed with the self and its traumas, and those who bleed for the victims of capitalist violence end up themselves murdering the innocent to serve some private psychodrama.

    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/10/radicals_portraits_of_a_destructive_passion_david_horowitz.html#ixzz28S0f1Nvd

    (My bold)

    Excerpt from David Horowitz’ new book, “‘Radicals. Portraits of a Destructive Passion”.

  18. – The Left has dug down deep and discovered the REAL reason for Obama’s total failure at the debate. It was a handkerchief !!!111elentyone!!!!

  19. Holy shit, leigh. I’ve been looking for that sort of analysis for years. Thank you.

  20. The progressives do not want and end to racism. They need racism. They need to divide people into as many factions as possible and set them on each other. That way they will all be distracted and can be rewarded, and kept down, on an group basis.

    The worst thing that could happen to progressives is for a lot of people to unite based on an ideology rather than race, class, sex, or orientation. You know, like that Tea Party thingy. They fear that more than anything, because once people get together and realize they usually have a lot more in common than they do in difference, the progressives will lose.

  21. Furthermore, since racism is not nearly common enough to be a good lever against their foes, the progressives create racism where it does not exist (such as noted here). That’s why we hear about it all the time; they need to create more racism.

  22. Or, at least, the appearance of racism. That’s almost as good as the real thing.

  23. JHo, holy shit, indeed. Horowitz is the go-to guy for information about all the old radicals. He knew most of them (Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Todd Gitlin, Bob Shrum, Tom Haydin, et al) personally back in the day when he was a professor (a real one, not a lecturer) at Berkeley in the ’60s.

    His autobiography “Radical Son” is all about his journey from being a Red Diaper baby to a Conservative and how all his “friends” abandoned him when he did.

  24. Huh. I thought Romney was calling him a child. I’m so glad these proggies are here to inform me how I should be thinking.

  25. What rocks me is the continuum between personal and collective, leigh. Both sobering and tremendously liberating.

  26. It’s validating, isn’t it, JHo? I felt like I’d come home when I found out I wasn’t the only one who was standing there saying “Wait just a damned minute!”

  27. How can you argue with the

    head tilt


    This Kevin Baker fellow doesn’t seem to be the sharpest bowling ball on the rack.

  28. head tilt

    Sorry I blew the html.

  29. Heh. I read somewhere the other day that the head tilt was a photographer’s device for demeaning girls in school photos.

    Kevin Barker has been had!

  30. The progressives do not want and end to racism. They need racism. They need to divide people into as many factions as possible and set them on each other.

    How can the Lightworker bring us together, if we haven’t previously been driven apart?

  31. Be galled that certain conservatives are perfectly fine with giving that gambit a kind of linguistic plausibility.

    I’m still not convinced that certain conservatives aren’t big bad joo-haters at heart. A few more reader polls and public debates, and I’ll probably be able to render my verdict.

  32. how and when did RACE! become the single greatest moral qualifier and imperative of this or any other time?

    1) The idea that Africans are sub-human and therefore not entitled to ordinary human dignity (not to mention freedom, education, or wealth) was a pernicious falsehood that led to a tremendous amount of evil.

    2) Pretty much everyone these days sees (1) as self-evidently true.

    3) Moral equivocation having been made de rigeur among the self-appointed aristocracy, (1) is one of the few solid places to stand when it comes to naming evil.

    4) As soon as a society acquires something like (2), everyone hastens to make sure that they’re not mistaken for Bad People.

    5) Because of the paucity of moral standards among the aristocracy, any moral preening they wish to engage in must necessarily base itself in (2).

    6) After the initial stages of purging the evil from the society (the actual evil), moral preening must necessarily progress to one-upmanship, wherein players demonstrate their moral purity by being able to detect evil where everyone else cannot.

    7) Racism is a crime that resides only in the heart, so there will rarely be external evidence of its existence beyond the exquisite sensitivity of Purer Souls, whose are like drug-sniffing dogs in their ability to suss out evil in others’ hearts.

    8) Accusations of racism require no proof on the part of the accuser, and the accused can do nothing but deny the charge: there’s no evidence to marshall to acquit oneself.

    9) The corruption of language, as detailed for years on protein wisdom, permits accusers to suss out wickedness any time they damned well please.

    10) Because of (4) and (8), accusations of racism become a simple way to discredit your opponents and smother their arguments in the stench of unquestionable wickedness.

    If it weren’t racism, it would be something else that met the above qualifications. Witchcraft, heresy, disloyalty—all of them are hard to prove and therefore impossible to defend against, when a society becomes corrupt enough that it values conformity and comfort and collegiality over TRVTH.

  33. TOURE: They live in an alternate reality which is why we get these sort of conspiracy theories. They don’t want to blame their ideology which is hostile to blacks, gays, women, Hispanics. They already have a shrinking tent. It’s an all-white Party. If you just have a bunch of white people, you’re gonna come up with alternate realities that don’t make any sense.

    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/10/05/tour-if-you-just-have-bunch-white-people-you-re-gonna-come-alternate-#ixzz28Sk50Jei

  34. Wow, nr, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    (I denounce myself)

  35. Huh. I thought it was a clever way to call him a LIAR disguised as a fatherly anecdote. I’ve heard women say they became better managers at work after having kids . Does that infantalize their employees?
    Mitt also told Obama he was “inaccurate” numerous times. He had to phrase it this way specifically because our dog whistle experts have already declared that saying (or shouting) “You lie!” is racist, because the “You lie, boy!” is magically implied.

  36. Pingback: The real Barky » Cold Fury

  37. In the old days, yes they were the good days too, I would have beaten the absolute shit out of Kevin Barker and he would have been eliminated from the public dialogue. Now? He’s given voice, even if its just a worthless rag such as Harpers. Tell me progg morons who may be lurking, what utility does an idiot like Kevin Barker offer? I’ll give you a hint…none.

  38. …he surrounds himself with failed conservative advisers…

    That boy is crazy as a shit house rat.

  39. Obama stopped being a boy when he raped his first job I think.

    There’s just no going back after that.

  40. I wonder if young Barack used a whistle to entice the dog he ate.

    Is that insensitive?

  41. food feedback please the happypeds

  42. I’m pretty sure Romney was thinking Family Circus instead of Huck Finn when he was talking about his boyz.

  43. Nothing really to report I was stuck in starkly gothic shitkicker hometown for something like the past week… striking out for Austin in morning…

    I had some sort of 3-cheese French soup at our new fancy eatin place that was amazing but it was basically cheese and cream… That’s not exactly raising the difficulty bar super-high.

    Also I did the medium pork chop thing for the first time. But I had to send the first one back, which I really hate but the mediumness was the whole point… Loved it.

  44. I saw a dog get flayed alive that was new and different

  45. Also I found out our neighbors don’t just shoot the squirrels in their backyard… They eat them too! They brought over a jar of pickled squirrel for reals. They eat the doves they bag too.

    God bless them I say

  46. Baker…

    He was supposed to be out there for all of us, especially for those of us who desperately need things like a monthly check to live on when we’re too old to work anymore and a hospital bed to lie down in.

    He was supposed to be a president.

    That’s what a president does? Really, Kevin Baker? Be your nanny, your lifelong titty, your nursemaid from cradle to grave?

    I’ve complete and utter disgust for this man and his ideology.

    Can we name the rebuilt Republic Phoenix? because this, it’s readying to burn.

  47. ‘feets! Squirrel is good eatings. But first, you’ve got to clean it.

  48. That’s not unlike what happened to the dog really

  49. Why would they flay the poor dog alive? That’s some cruel shit, right there.

  50. Obama must’ve had a hankering….

  51. Is that the halal way of doing it?

  52. It was more like what happens when a wee small chihuahua possess off a great dane

    I have pictures

    It cost 7 hundred something to sew the poor little guy back together into a frankenhuahua


  53. *pisses* off I mean

  54. You get get several more Chihuahuas for $700. Or better yet, a Great Dane of one’s own.