June 7, 2008

The Knuckle-Bumping Messiah

Justin Katz

Perhaps it's because I'm a populist or an elitist (pick one), but I find images of Barack and Michelle (Bachelle?) fist-bumping nauseating. The statement that I read in it — albeit, between the lines — is "if we do this, people will think we're regular folk, just like them." And why should this well-to-do, upper-crust, non-entertainment-industry couple get away with it? Well, because their skin is dark.

No doubt, plenty of "regular Americans" scarcely noticed when the silver spoons fell from their lips as they swooned at the gesture. (No doubt, some will take my reaction as an excuse to wallow in their moral superiority to a rubic carpenter with a "my use of cool words is bigger than yours" style, as a recent hate-email characterized my vocabulary.) I've yet to find the story in print, but I wouldn't be surprised if the impact of myriad dunces falling for the script registered on the Richter scale.

I'm with Mark Steyn in this sentiment:

Speaking personally, I don't want to remake America. I'm an immigrant and one reason I came here is because most of the rest of the western world remade itself along the lines Sen. Obama has in mind. This is pretty much the end of the line for me. If he remakes America, there's nowhere for me to go — although presumably once he's lowered sea levels around the planet there should be a few new atolls popping up here and there.
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I find you, and your COWARD chicken hawk
friends like Draft Dodger,Don Carcieri, who CHOSE not to serve NAUSEATING!!
Including Gingrich,Delay,Cheney,Romney,Thompson, Guiliani,Limbaugh,Hanity,Dan Yorke, Matt Allen, Google "Right Wing ChickenHawks" the list of Right Wing COWARDS is to long to list here.
Richard English

Posted by: Vietnam Veteran at June 7, 2008 10:25 PM

Who knew I had so many friends!

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 7, 2008 11:18 PM

It's the 21st century, Justin. Hey, McCain did SNL. So did Hillary and Huckabee. And Obama.
If you don't think presidential candidates should be having a good time on the campaign trail, start a movement for '12. Throw AR's support behind any candidate who pledges not to do SNL, Letterman, Leno, Stewart or Colbert.

Posted by: rhody at June 7, 2008 11:33 PM

Not sure how the knuckle-bumping (and the massive promotion thereof) is of a kind with appearances on mainstream shows.

A good time is fine. I just simply don't believe that this was an extemporaneous motion.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 7, 2008 11:37 PM


Now why would you find the behaviors of this elitist silver spoon sucking empty suit born out of the political machinery of Chicago to be nauseating?
Don't you know the messiah is here to reshape the world? lol
A nation of 300+ million people and we get to choose between Obama and McCain.
Wow! Not even God can help us!
When looking at these two and when observing the corral of spinless leaderless vapidity known as the U.S. Congress it's pretty safe to opine that America has seen her best days.

Posted by: Tim at June 8, 2008 8:18 AM

Vietnam Veteran,

Try the VA Hospital. They have programs that can help you. We hope!

Posted by: Tim at June 8, 2008 8:26 AM

JCATZ You may have to plan on feel nauseous for the next 4 plus years. If I were you I would stay away from those right wing sites you seem so fond of and work a little harder on your day job. Somehow when and if you could turn things around for yourself you may not be so concerned about other people's successess.You're right though that the fist bump of the Obama's was staged. At least it did'nt take place on an aircraft carrier in front of a huge banner.

Also... It could just be a hairball that is making you feel nauseous. A little dry food and water until it passes. No charge Dr. Phil

Posted by: Phil at June 8, 2008 9:24 AM

Where is your call out for President Bush using a southern accent despite the fact that he is an elitist northern?

Posted by: george at June 8, 2008 9:40 AM


Be satisfied to know that your play on my name is as original and clever as anything that the kids were able to come up with back when I was in seventh grade. Good work.



My understanding is that the Bushes have been down South for quite a number of years, and I have to admit some sympathy as one who tends to conform with accents pretty quickly myself.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 8, 2008 10:42 AM

You understand my point however? In my view Bush put on a southern accent too look more like a "regular" american. And it worked to an extent, everyone forgot that the man went to Phillips Andover, Yale, and was born into a rich family.

So I feel it is a bit hypocritical to say you are nauseated by the fist bumping because you don't like their politics.

Posted by: george at June 8, 2008 11:28 AM

You gag on a fist bump and swallow the Bush war. Once again your incredible combination of arrogance and stupidity betrays the vacuity of your political thought process. Ah well, what can we expect from someone whose political acuity has led him to vote for Bush twice.

My suggestion is that you try real hard to let reality slip from its hiding place between your ears and have it permeate the rest of your being.

You might also ponder this quote from George W. Bush's favorite philosopher, "Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!"


Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 8, 2008 12:14 PM

Who said I voted for Bush twice?

I'll say this, though: I didn't "swallow the Bush war." I supported it. I advocated for it. I defended its rationale. I still do.

But I see no purpose to getting into a spitting match with the likes of you on a hot day like today. Surely you've plenty of Obama-admiring cud to chew today --- daydreams of the global change to come.

Enjoy it while you can. Should Obama define our political future, our country and culture ought to be braced for dim days ahead.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 8, 2008 12:29 PM

lower case george,

George W. Bush was born in Midland, Tx and raised there. Liberals are so stupid they have to really, really reach to come up with their next point - and then they still prove they have their heads up their asses.

Gee, my wife's parents were born in Greece and she has a RI accent... she must be a phoney! What a fool I am!

Posted by: George at June 8, 2008 6:45 PM

typed too fast... born in New Haven, CT, but moved to Midland Tx, was raised there, went to schools there and ran business there.

Posted by: George at June 8, 2008 6:50 PM

Your ridiculous political positions said you voted for Bush twice. Was that a denial?

By all definitions if you say of the Iraq War,"I supported it. I advocated for it. I defended its rationale. I still do", you swallowed it. Depends on what the meaning of "swallow" is I suppose.

As to how I feel about Obama, one word, the state's motto, "HOPE"

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 8, 2008 7:00 PM


A "conservative" who supports GW Bush is no conservative at all. Swallow hard, admit failure, and hope for a strong Obama presidency that might spur a new, and truly conservative, response.

You know, conservative as in small government, no deficits, no pork barrel spending, few foreign entanglements, no torture, no domestic surveillance, etc. All of those crazy ideas.

Posted by: Pragmatist at June 8, 2008 11:18 PM

As Frank Zappa once said, "If being conservative is about wanting to keep government small and taxes low, then yes, I'm a conservative."
Of course, that was before Tipper Gore and Lynne Cheney released the hounds.

Posted by: rhody at June 9, 2008 12:48 PM

Honestly. Seriously. I was first old enough to vote in the '92 elections. The same day I reported to Boot Camp, coincidentally. I got to serve under Captain Pants-Around-His-Ankles. Good times...

The last eight years of 'Conservative' rule have led me to believe that maybe we really are better off with a Democrat in charge. At least in the '90s the worst we had to deal with was Bosnia. The economy was booming, the President could complete a sentence without mispronouncing a word or making one up, our boys weren't getting blown up and life was good.

Once the 'Conservatives' decided to go all big-government, big-brother, 'papers please' I decided they no longer represented what I thought they did. I stopped listening to Rush because I found that the 30% of things I agreed with him on weren't worth listening to the 70% I didn't.

Now, in 2008, with an upcoming election I look across the pond to Europe. Bastion of Socialism and I say to myself "What's wrong with what they've got? They sure LOOK a lot happier than we 50-hour work week, 2-week vacation a year, hump-busting to just barely stay afloat losers. Maybe they know something we don't."

Posted by: Greg at June 9, 2008 12:53 PM

You and I stand back to back and see the same thing....That, I think, is Obama's secret. He is putting together a new coalition that is going to redirect this country. The old labels of "liberal" and "conservative" have been used so much as to be meaningless. A new paradigm is being created. I don't know what to call the phenomenon, but it is personified in Obama.
P.S. Don't miss the message in Michelle Obama's purple dress, no more red and blue, but purple. Interesting to note that political Neanderthals like J.K. saw the event and were "nauseated" by the fist bump when the purple dress conveyed the message, a la Marshall Mcluhan.
Viva The Purple Coalition

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 9, 2008 4:49 PM


I love to engage in raucous political debate with people from the other side of the fence. In person (Blogs I mostly hate for the obvious reasons). In person you can yell and rant and I can yell back and rant and we can both throw party lines at each other until we're blue in the face.

And once the bloviating is over we can get to the meat of the issues. And more often than not we can come to an agreement on MOST things. I want fewer welfare recipients. You want low-cost tuitions. I say we PAY for four years of schooling and that person gives us back two years of CIVILIAN (military if they want) service and sign off that they aren't eligible for welfare ever. You say ten years. I say twenty. We come to an agreement. It means squat but we're talking. And we're finding solutions we're both happy about or are at least both equally unsatisfied with.

Obama wants this conversation to be happening about everything. He wants to get past the rancor and childish stupidity that has taken over politics in the last 20 years. Can it work? I dunno. But I'll give his way a shot. And if he blows it I'll vote him out in four years. God knows he can't F-it up anymore than Captain Cuckoo-Bananas and his idiot cabal are right now.

I want to be part of that 'new' tone. I'm tired of hating liberals. I'm tired of being hated as a conservative. I want to be an American again and for that to MEAN something.

Posted by: Greg at June 9, 2008 5:47 PM

Richard Tuoni (Old Time Liberal),

I hope you get a tingle from your imaginary subversion with the things that I permit you to say about me on my Web site. I'd hate to think that the mildly annoying hiss that greets me at the end of a long, excruciatingly hot day on the construction site doesn't yield at least that much.

Be that as it may, it's remarkable how aptly you've chosen your pseudonym: Old time liberalism is nothing if not petty and mean-spirited and seeking to mask those facets of personality by holding all of "the right and righteous" positions, asserted rather than proven and expressed most habitually through entirely safe adolescent rebellion.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 9, 2008 7:19 PM

OTL-sometimes a prple dress is just a purple dress....

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 9, 2008 7:21 PM

So you called out OTL. Because you had to suffer a little heat. Might as well call me out as well. So much for your scruples. I thuoght that this was a well run blog. So now you decide when to use people's names? Mine is David Spadola and I live in West Greenwich. You want the street address. We just found you out. You are a punk.

Posted by: David at June 9, 2008 7:46 PM

My scruples? The guy has identified himself periodically on the blog (e.g., the first comment to this post). Click on his name on any comment, and you're just two more clicks away from some family history. Am I unscrupulous for being no more careful about his identity than he is?

I used his actual name because his comments are getting increasingly personal, and I thought it appropriate to address him personally, not as the online leftist superhero that he perhaps considers himself.

And let's be honest, now, Mr. Spadola: You already thought I was a punk and probably have since the very first time you came across my name. Such is life, but your attempt to present the situation as if I'd just betrayed some sacred Webmaster confidence is misguided.

(For the record, though, I'll admit that I had, for some reason, thought that email addresses, which gave you away long ago, were available to the general public. That's certainly something of which I'll make note, because it has been and remains my policy to preserve the privacy of commenters as much as possible.)

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 9, 2008 8:17 PM

I actually thought your blog was very well run and I was impressed with some of the professionalism in the face of personal attacks. You have gone too far. Yes, the information is available but not included on most posts. OTL was choosing to be OTL on your blog to the casual reader, the other commentors, and to you. You violated that. You who can find a thousand faults in anyone else. I am not going to post here anymore. I have enjoyed OTL, Phil. greg.joebernstein, Rhody. You have been engaging at times. But you went too far. Yes, it was hot today. I dealt with smallmindedness at the building inspection office. I had to jump through small town hoops that I knew were unnecessary. I had to spend too much time and fuel to satisfy their meager requests. I called you a punk because of your behavior, not because it was HOT today.

Posted by: David at June 9, 2008 8:38 PM

I didn't say that my reaction to Richard was the heat. The heat was incidental (a contextual consideration in judging his mean-spiritedness).

And believe you me: I can find more faults with myself than with anybody I've ever met. Yes, I've considered whether one of them might be an unwillingness to simply allow, without comment, strangers to call me a Neanderthal in a forum that I've had a key role in developing and maintaining and in comments that are emailed directly to my cell phone for periodic refreshment throughout the day.

Keep one thing in mind, David: Richard goes out of his way to come here, read what I've written, and to insult me. Be the heat as it may, you chose to visit this page and to read an aging comment thread. Whether you choose to do so again is up to you, but it's astonishing that you (who've told me that I am "indeed, an idiot" because I wrote a light-hearted post pondering whether snow's effect on people is natural or cultural) would attack me with such presumed righteousness on the grounds that I violated some bizarre rules confidence in response to continual insults from a person who freely and regularly identifies himself.

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 9, 2008 8:58 PM


I don't imagine that there's anybody who actually needs to be informed of the fact, but it might relieve some difficulties if you would note for the record that your comment was sarcastic hyperbole rather than an actual threat.

Posted by Justin Katz at June 9, 2008 10:28 AM

So said you not that long ago. When i called you an idiot it was in the frame work of what I was reading on your blog- the over the top language. No. You are wrong when you want to dismiss your error by implying that I have always thought of you as a punk. Why would I have continued to read this blog if I did not find some value in the blog's members and commentors? Far from it Justin. I may vehemently disagree with you on the substance of your posts and of those of Monique and Marc and Andrew Carroll but I have valued the ability your blog allows to exchange comments and disagreements.

Posted by: David at June 9, 2008 9:37 PM

And you've expressed your gratitude by calling me an idiot, a wimp, an egomaniac, and a punk? Richard's "Neanderthal" is merely the latest in a growing list of personal insults.

I apologize if, in my weakness, I periodically find myself compelled to remind our readers that they and we are all actual people.

(Curious: What do you find objectionable about the sentence that you quote?)

Posted by: Justin Katz at June 9, 2008 9:51 PM

What so bad about Punks... The Ramones... Sex Pistols.. Dead Kennedys

Posted by: Phil at June 9, 2008 10:37 PM

Don't be silly, of course I recognize that you are a real person, I'm just trying to help you complete the job.

Let's get the nom de plume straight. It's OldTimeLefty, not Old Time Liberal. You cut me to the quick when you call me a liberal. I'm a true Blue (get it) bona fide leftist. I don't consider Sacco and Vanzetti as liberals. They are lefties. Expand your world a bit.

There's an Eastern saying, "The closer to the gates, the fiercer the guardians", that probably tripped off your hot response. My guess is that the swallow bit tied to Jesus's quote that Pharisees strain at a gnat and swallow a camel hit a bit too close to home.

Please, encourage your readers to visit any blog that I may have, but respect the nom de plume.

Keep on postin'. You are a hell of a lot of fun. That reminds me of another quote, this one from Thomas Moore, "The devil, that proud spirit, he cannot stand mocking." It's all wrapped up in the ego.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 10, 2008 11:24 AM

OTL-Military service is great for putting ego in its place.When you are called a maggot constantly and treated like crap for awhile,it makes you realize that the world does revolve around you.I am glad to have learned that lesson early.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 10, 2008 6:59 PM

joe bernstein,
Are you suggesting that Justin join the military?

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at June 10, 2008 8:06 PM

OTL-It's not my place to suggest to anyone that they should enlist.I do however,think that the military is a great levelling tool,throwing people of every background together in a somewhat harsh environment for a few years.It breaks down the "Us and Them" mentality which is not good for society.
I actually think a return to the draft would be a good idea,but with NO exemptions.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 10, 2008 11:13 PM

The first knuckle-pounding politician I ever saw was Newt Gingrich, when he was Sacha Baron Cohen's guest on HBO's "Da Ali G Show" a few years ago.
The DVDs of that show's two seasons are a must...especially Borat's door-to-door campaigning with an ant-Semetic congressional candidate in Mississippi.

Posted by: rhody at June 12, 2008 12:38 AM