Friday, February 13, 2009

Not Clever!

Can I just say that monkeying around with President Obama's name is not particularly clever? 

Seriously, calling him Obama Bin Laden, or Barak HUSSEIN Obama, or referring to an "Obamanation" or "Obamunism" - it's just not as clever as some people seem to think it is. Honestly, it's not clever.

I think Mark Twain once said something along the lines of "Never make fun of a man's name. He's heard it a hundred times before, and each time was funnier than the time you did it." (I paraphrase).

Make fun of the way. he. talks. Or laugh at him for bumping his head on Marine One (hyuk, the President sure is tall! hyuk hyuk). Or, go ahead, make fun of his name - just don't spend too much time complimenting yourself on how clever that is.

10 comments:

Mark said...

Yeah, the HUSSEIN thing is pretty annoying - actually offensive. But I think "Obamunism" is pretty clever, in the same vein as "Reaganomics", "Dubya", "Slick Willie", etc. These aren't making fun of the name, they're just associating certain characteristics or concepts with the name. If you ask me, I think our president would be proud to be called "Obamunist", because I think he sincerely believes in and favors communist/socialist principles. So using the term is not necessarily derogatory - unless you think those principles will lead to bad things for our country.

But "Obamanation".... hee hee. :)

Kimmer said...

Good point Mark. You get the Clever aWard.

Mark said...

Thanks! I'd like to hear more about your Kimberliefs on this subject.

And bro - I think your blog is Danomite!





Somebody stop me! :)

Kim2 said...

I disagree, Mark. "Slick Willie" and "Dubya" reflect personal qualities; "Reaganomics" is a philosophy and for the comparison to work, we should refer to "Obamanomics". Though I think both are cheap short cuts to something extremely complicated.

"Obamunsim" is derogatory because it promotes what he his not, just like using his middle name does. It leads people to the wrong assumptions, short circuits reflective thought and instills fear and mistrust. (And, let's not forget who was in the White House when tax payers first bought the banks.)

Obama promotes discussion and debate on issues, especially the tough ones. Name calling is all the more juvenile in light of that. If folks take issue with his policy, they should deal with it straight up. Don't derail the dialog with comments that don't contribute to a solution, compromise or at the very least an understanding.

As for clever- I'm all for it, if it is indeed clever. If it's to make the point about the issue and not the guy. Chris Rock is a great example- sell all the guns you want, but tax the hell out of the bullets! Or Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, Colbert, or Bill Mahr or Lewis Black...I can't wait for Al Franken to take to the Senate floor. And, to be fair, these guys all have their juvenile moments.

Let me know if you HURD me. Ok?

Anonymous said...

"Obamanation.com" = clever. Probably not. But it sure makes you wonder why someone is so against the positivity that his election has brought on.

I'm guessing you wouldn't be excited about the website name. But the content portrays a true abomination.

The Dan Ward said...

Interesting stuff everyone - I love it when a post triggers discussions like this!

To respond to Mark's suggestion, I suspect President Obama would probably not "be proud to be called Obamunist," because he's smart enough to recognize the term is not intended as a compliment.

I can't say for sure whether Mr. O would like to be called a Socialist. I suspect he self-identifies as a Capitalist, and as a general rule I like to describe people with the labels and terms they prefer. However, as a non-socialist, non-capitalist person myself (i.e. a small-business, small-government Distributist), I sometimes have a difficult time distinguishing between big-business Capitalism and big-government Socialism. In practice, they end up looking remarkably alike - for example.

They look even more alike when people decide that a crisis requires throwing out what are supposedly core principles.

Ultimately tho, this post was about whether it's clever to play with Obama's name they way some people do. In order to be clever, I think the term should humorously illustrate something about Obama and his ideas, policies, etc. However, most of these terms (Obamanation, etc) end up revealing more about the people who use them than about the man they are directed at...

(and I may be biased, but Kim's "Obamanomics" term does strike me as pretty clever.)

Mark said...

To Dan's original point (and my original response), the issue was whether or not it is funny and/or appropriate to "monkey around with" a person's name for purposes of entertainment or to express a particular viewpoint. So if "Obamanomics" is ok with you, but not "Obamunism" then that leads us to a different discussion.

As for being a cheap short cut - yep, I agree. That's what I like about the terms (all of the above, though a classic example I should have thought of before is "Gerrymandering"). One word - but you know exactly what it means. This is much deeper than juvenile name calling. If it was "this President is a Poo Poo Head", then yeah, I'm right there with you on the juvenile thing. But a term that conveys a perception of his fundamental political beliefs? That sounds pretty grown-up to me.

Now, if you want to debate whether or not President Obama favors socialist and/or communist policies, then that's fine with me (though I don't think it was the intent of this particular blog post). If you want to make an argument that he's better than our last president, fine. But I, as a member of the Loyal Opposition, think he is absolutely an Obamunist, and yeah, I think that's bad for America.

I also can't let the "promotes discussion and debate on issues" go by without a comment... In his recent Prime Time Press Conference, he chided the Republican members of Congress for taking too long to discuss whether the details of the proposed ~$1Trillion spending bill was appropriate or not. He called that debate a "bad habit" that he had come to Washington to break. Ummm...

Mark said...

... simultaneous posts...

"They look even more alike when people decide that a crisis requires throwing out what are supposedly core principles."

Great line! Also reminds me of a quote from the great 20th century philosopher G. Lucas: "So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause."

Dick Field said...

One thing I've noticed about liberal ideologues (probably after considerable observation of some in my extended family) - humorless. Everything is just too darn serious to take lightly. Good grief, we are talking about something that is reflexively funny here - not the deep semantic underpinnings of an utterance. I like to laugh at anything funny in politics - I don't care who the target is. Humor is therapeutic. I know from another part of my extended family that clandestine political humor under communist regimes was a mainstay - a necessary way of coping with reality. Same-same Nazi Germany. Do you think Ronald Reagan ever chuckled at self-deprecating humor? I dare say our current President does. I say, keep humor humorous. If you have to start dissecting - well, it just isn't funny anymore. . . . and I need my therapy.

The Dan Ward said...

Dick - I suspect that idealogues of all stripes lack a sense of humor. Thats' why it's always struck me as odd and a bit ironic that the airport security makes a big deal about how we shouldn't joke around about having a bomb. Joking around about stuff is the one thing we can count on terrorists to not do. :)

But I've got to say the funniest political commentators (John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Chris Rock, etc) all seem to lean left...