I don’t find this especially offensive, but it is interesting to hear Michael Barone define normal (via WM):
This is similar but not identical to a point I’ve often made: that the Republican Party is the party of people who are considered, by themselves and by others, as normal Americans—Northern white Protestants in the 19th century, married white Christians more recently—while the Democratic Party is the party of the out groups who are in some sense seen, by themselves and by others, as not normal—white Southerners and Catholic immigrants in the 19th century, blacks and white seculars more recently. Thus it’s natural for the Democrats to be more fissiparous.
The notion that Republicans are good, upstanding God-fearing Amurkins while Democrats are left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers plays an important role in America’s official political discourse. It’s there when candidates are criticized for not wearing socks and for vacationing in Hawaii. It’s there when other, more patriotic candidates invite reporters to barbecues at one of their many houses.
Also, feel free to make up your own jokes about public bathrooms, adult diapers, dildos, and wet-suits here.
I don’t think it’s normal to use words like "fissiparous."
Huh. I wonder why it is, if Republicans are considered to be, "by themselves and others", normal Americans, why they would lose so much? Why are so many people volitionally electing the abnormal? Discuss.
Fixed. After I looked up "fissiparous."
Michael Barone needs to understand the difference between Republican marketing efforts and actual public perception of the Republican Party.
those jokes seem to write themselves, don’t they?
well, that may be true that they are considered so…
…but it’s quite clear that many of them repress their ‘non-normal’ desires and beliefs.
So, Republicans tend to believe in saying one thing publically and doing something else privately. Democrats tend to believe that one’s public and private beliefs and actions should be consistent.
is it any wonder that Republicans are generally considered hypocrites?
The Grand Panjandrum
Starting with the Gingrich Revolution of ’94 and ending with the Obama election in ’08 I would have to say that the Normal People should never be allowed to run anything. Ever again. It’s about time the atheists, brown people, Jews, homosexuals, DFH’s, and other ne’er-do-wells be given a chance to get this country back on track. I don’t think this country can take too much more of the Normal People running it.
Please, enough with dildo’s and wetsuit comments. Us involved in the fetish community don’t want to be continually lumped in with Republicans.
I would like to point out that this pointy-headed, cappuccino-sipping elitist actually already knew what ‘fissiparous’ meant, and I could spell it correctly in a pinch as well.
No wonder I am one of those ‘other’ folks. I got lots of fancy-pants book-larnin’, which as we all know is traitorous and suspicious, because it eventually leads to atheism, secularism and other mental diseases.
used to be disgusted
This certainly has been true, but I suspect it is true no longer.
Look at the high-profile Republican figures: Newt, Palin, Rush, Michael Steele, Bobby Jindal. "Normal" is about the last word you’d use.
I also think becoming a regional party could be the death knell for this traditional GOP strength. We’re not too far away from a world where people can’t say "Republican Party" without hearing dueling banjos in the background. Dueling banjos ≠ normal, unless you enjoy squealing like a pig.
I’m going to go out on a limb and state that 999 out of 1000 Palin voters have no clue what “fissiparous” means, and thus it is obviously a Democratic construct.
And so Bobby Jindal is…?
The irony is that while some foolish Republicans want to see themselves as "normal," they are delusional if they believe, as Barone apparently does, that this is also how they are perceived "by others."
I love how oblivious this blowhard is to the inanity of his own proposition. The reminds me of the hilarious "Oblivious Dog Walker" skit from the comedy show, "Spank the Pony."
And of course Barone misses the central point that one of the things that unites and defines Americans, even the first founders, is that we have always been a motley band of misfits, not particularly interested in being "normal" by anybody’s definition.
This doesn’t explain why Republicans are primarily oviparous.
Yeah, I was wondering about "fissiparous" too. Is that the word of the day today?
Apparently, it was big in 1932. Wonder what was going on then that was like today? Hmmm.
GOP: for normal people only. all you dirty outsiders and darkies better step the fuck off.
is this guy for real ?
i hope he never wonders why the GOP has trouble attracting minorities.
that said, my next band is going to be called "Fissiparous Out Group"
Comrade General Stuck
Given that the population growth and ipso fatso new voters in this country are largely Barones abnormal minority types, then he is democrats best campaign commercial. So keep up with the white bread buttering there Mikey, you can be the permanent minority as long as you wish.
**as always, when reading this malignant wingnut mush, my first inclination is to fire off some nasty hateful speech of my own to counter it. But now I take a deep breath and smile at it’s hollow note./
I’m NORMAL too:
Northern Overweight Randy Male Atheistic Liberal.
the best part of the whole paragraph is his assertion that they see themselves and are seen by others as normal. He should just come out and say that because he is white and male he thinks Republicans are normal and he considers everyone else as not normal. More Republican Projection Syndrome™.
used to be disgusted
The irony, of course, is that Republicans don’t even believe in amphibians or monotremes.
I don’t find this especially offensive
You don’t? He’s all but singing the Lee Atwater mantra. Wildly offensive, it is.
I’m pretty sure Michael Barone has a Baby Jesus Buttplug inserted whenever he shows up on a talk show. Seriously.
For those who want to be like Mike, go here:
He put that word in on a bet. I practically guarantee it.
What a pompous windbag! Fissiparous? Sheesh! The kind of person of whom my grandfather used to say, "That boy’s always using five-dollar words where a twenty-five cent word would do."
It’s NORML to smoke pot.
Statistically speaking, from a global perspective, aren’t the only "normal" people asian?
My granddad would have called Barone’s use of fissiparous "a three-dollar word on a dollar-fifty budget." Which makes it clear to me that Barone is attempting to start vocabulary class warfare, too.
Tolerance of diversity is American.
Bah. Fissiparous is an instantly parsable word; everyone should know ‘parous’ means ‘bearing, giving birth’, from oviparous and viviparous, and ‘fissi’ clearly, at least in context, shares a root with fissure.
@JosieJ: Holy sh*t! Did we have the same grandfather? ;)
The last line from Barone is also a doozy:
Torture, wiretapping, unitary executive, privatizing Social Security, the Iraq War, Fourth Branch. That’s just off the top of my head.
"You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons."
What did you expect? "Welcome, sonny"? "Make yourself at home"? "Marry my daughter"? You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons. /Jim
By the way, that link is to the new "Morans" picture. It was time for a replacement anyway.
Emphasis mine. I agree with comment 19, this is offensive, and this is par for the course for Barone, a right wing hack who has been exposed as such many times by JMM and digby among others.
Allowing these memes to go unchallenged is tremendously damaging to whatever groups are the targets, whether political parties, racial, religious minorities etc.
What goes Clopclop, squish squish, splat?
Larry Craig doing a high two-step after forgetting to put the seat down first.
That doesn’t explain why he didn’t use a much more contemporarily used word like "fractious", which is even more parsable, and has the benefit of being used by people under 70.
Was the entire intelligentsia of the Republican party raised in retirement homes?
Wouldn’t a shorter way to describe Barone’s position be "Republicans are the party of identity politics, Democrats are everyone else"?
Does it register with him that his not-normal folks outnumber his normal ones by about 72 to 28?
It’s like he’s sitting out on a tree branch and furiously sawing to keep the bad guy from coming up the tree to get him.
The word "fissiparous" is probably banned in the Episcopalin Church, since it describes her daughter’s marriage plans.
I sincerely have no clue how he would expand his category tot he rest of the world. Personally I think anyone *not* a republican is normal.
The Moar You Know
I sure do.
Fuck "normal," I’m with NORML.
"Fractious" is preferable to "fissiparous" in that context, though the crack about Democrats not being married makes "fissiparous" kind of an amusing pun, because if they don’t have "normal" families, then they must reproduce by budding or fission.
I doubt Barone thought it through like that, though.
THEYZ IN UR BASE TUTCHIN UR DOODZ!
Those things aren’t "normal". They’re just "common".
@John Cole: To be fair, I had to look it up. Though I’m guessing 7 out of 10 Palin supporters either could not or would not look it up.
Oh, and Balloon Juice is often fissiparous.
And, good new for John McCain.
I humbly submit this should be filed away as a potential ‘comment of the year’ post. Comment of the week at least.
Guess what, Michael Barone?
Normal is boring. Normal is the least common denominator.
Republicans are both less and more than normal. They aren’t boring, I’ll give them that. They definitely, however, illustrate perfectly our society’s least useful and advanced ideas.
As for me, I’ve never once aspired to being "normal." I have a horror of being considered that.
I and all my progressive, liberal compadres much prefer to be extraordinary Americans.
So thanks, Mikey. I can’t think of anything I’d prefer less than to be normal and just like you.
@Nicole: Heh, evidently!
It’s some kind of commie lettuce, isn’t it?
Dildos immediately conjured up memories of Molly Ivins in Dildo Diaries. If you’ve seen it, you will laugh again as you ponder how such loons ever make it to state houses. As far as I know Warren Chissum is still representing his area of the Texas pan handle. I love the sheer joy in the face of the red head at the end. She wouldn’t make it even as a plus-size model yet she is so obviously comfortable in her skin.
Let’s take your classic bell shaped curve so we can define normal amongst the general population. Using whatever set of behaviors you want, we can draw parallel lines on both sides of the curve, and call those who fall to the outside of the lines "deviants". And we can call those people that fall in the middle of the curve between the lines "normal". The trick is, where in the curve do you draw the lines?
You can draw the lines so tightly that you only leave one person between them at the very top of the curve. We’ll call that person "Norm". Norm is the one person in the world that is not in any way deviant.
In other words, Norm is the one person represented on the whole bell shaped curve that doesn’t exist.
Well, I’m a married white Christian, but not a Republican, so am I normal or not? A flow chart or something would’ve been helpful, Barone, or possibly a Zenn diagram. And then you could overlay a timeline. Or maybe there’s a sliding scale. Coordinates on an X and Y axis to plot? Percentage of normality? Because I’m also a white Southerner, and Catholic, not an immigrant, but in the 19th century my family was certainly immigrants if they were even here. The ones who weren’t were foreigners, so I have some clarity there, but I’m sure you can see my confusion overall.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
No, that would be arugula.
If you substitute a more neutral-sounding term, like "socially dominant group", for normal, he might almost have a point. I certainly think that’s true of the Republican party today. They represent the socially dominant rich married straight white Christian men, and they’re trying to use the political process to preserve their privilege. Meanwhile, the Democrats have tried to attract various non-dominant groups, like women, minorities, poor people, etc. who want to break in.
Of course the picture is incomplete. The 19th Century Republicans got a big chunk of their political strength from former slaves, which contradicts the whole theory. Similarly, the Ivy League Liberal Establishment today seems like a group of "normal" Americans who obviously disagree with the Republicans. That’s presumably whey the Rethugs hate them so much- they’re traitors to the goal of preserving elite privilege.
Speaking as a northern white married protestant woman, I simply regard Republicans as boring and wrong.
but then, I’m a WOMAN, so I guess that makes me abnormal anyway.
I don’t find this offensive so much as spectacularly stupid. I’d like to know who the "others" are that Barone is referring to. (I’m betting he has no idea himself, and just used the phrase as a throwaway that sounded good in context.)
It will disappoint you to know that I totally agree with you on this. This subtle but pervasive and corrosive set of prejudices is a big factor in our politics, and if you want to hear screams that test the limits of human hearing, try telling your next Republican lunchmate that his or her party is the party of soft bigotry. Wear a helmet, because they are super sensitive to this criticism — because it’s true.
While the coalition we are currently operating under outnumbers the coalition most representative of that softly bigoted set of positions, that situation can be morphed by events and political manipulation. That was what the McCain campaign turned into, a full time expression of these soft bigotries. That campaign failed miserably, but let the economy be in the shitter in 2012 and watch them succeed.
So, we want to run this extraordinary country with only the most normal people?
They must really hate America.
Not sure if that’s a typo or intentional, but I’m stealing it regardless.
There you go, that’s definitely the tiebreaker. I’m almost certainly not normal. Why are women not normal when they’re 51% of the population? Because shut up, that’s why.
Duh, Venn diagram.
I even have memorized a whole Eddie Izzard sketch about Venn as a child inventing that diagram. It’s not his best work, but for some reason it cracks me up.
Billy K (D-TX)
Not sure why you’re all getting up in arms over Barone’s comments. They’re accurate, and he was making a point about GOP lock-step vs. Dem circular firing squad. And he’s right. This idea of "normal" has been the prevailing perception for the last 50 years.
The question is why "normal" is considered so awesome.
And they normally walked us over a cliff and the normal thing happened when we hit bottom: a Democrat was elected to clean up the mess that Republicans normally leave behind them.
Except that he didn’t–using "fissiparous" meant he was going for exactness in meaning, and so he used "normal" and not social dominant. The bigot.
Also wrong ANY way he would mean it…
The excerpt seems accurate to me. White Christians are the majority of the population of the USA and have been since the country was founded. That’s diminished steadily and is due to stop being true in a few decades, but even for a long time after that we’ll still be a plurality. And while there once may have been more diversity of opinion on economic topics, 40-plus years of rivalry with a Communist country narrowed that debate considerably.
The sticking point is, what next? Where do you go from there? The remaining Republicans seem to think they can and should preserve that normalcy – enshrine it into law, stack the social/economic deck in their own favor, adapt to the future as little as possible – for its own sake. Some independents like Andrew Sullivan seem to like having a "normal" subset of the country/culture and just want to expand or redefine the definition of it. While the rest say "fuck normal." Sounds all teenager-ish, but there it is.
@Zoogz: No fucking kidding. "Normal" people got swept away by the Macarena. "Normal" people think Hooters makes a decent hot wing. "Normal" people think that Survivor is unscripted.
@Comrade General Stuck:
Ipso fatso is a great description for Rush Limbaugh.
Otherwise, you mean ipso facto…."by the fact itself."
What the hell is the deal with Reuters slavishly wrapping its lips around Judd Gregg’s cock?
He also once saved an entire litter of kittens from a burning building by shooting a rainbow bridge out of his ass.
Nobody asked for it, but the Venn sketch. Warning: Eddie Izzard is a guy who wears makeup and high heels, and this is probably Not Normal. Especially since he kind of manages to pull it off. That’s even less normal.
Comrade General Stuck
I was speaking Pauper English behind the Queens back, and now you’ve told.
Obviously, you are aware of all internet traditions.
Time to delurk for the first time, to share an anecdote.
During election season I actually had lunch with Barone at the American Enterprise Institute’s private dining room. (Don’t ask how I ended up there- it was a business thing.) I, a slightly left of center kid from the heartland, was able to spend an hour surrounded by the conservative "elite", selecting food from a menu that would be unrecognizable to most of the "normal people" out in flyover country. Mr. Barone was slightly aloof, but amiable enough. The whole situation and setting, however, struck me as terribly removed from the real world. It felt like I’d been dropped at random right into the center of the beltway bubble, sharing space with those who create the conventional wisdom, and listening in on conversations I’d never thought I’d hear from the old, conservative business elite at surrounding tables- "will that Obama really win?". Realizing just how isolated these people are from those out in the heartland who pull the lever for their candidates was fascinating, but not all that surprising in retrospect.
I’m not sure Barone would describe himself as normal. But, I’m none too surprised to see what he feels that "normal" looks like. Trapped in DC, it might be easy to fall behind the vast demographic and social changes that are really happening out there. We all fall prey to such failings to some extent- it’s hard to see the macro picture, when we are creatures living inside a micro community. The true problem with the DC "intelligensia" such as Barone, however, is when they fail to realize that their micro, in which they live and exchange ideas and values, isn’t descriptive of the nation writ large.
Just my two cents. Love the site, Doug and John. Keep up the good work.
It’s scripted??!! No way. Vapid and as realistic as any monkey in a glass cage, but scripted? Next you’ll tell me professional wrestlers don’t really hit each other with sledge hammers. (had to explain that one to the kids this weekend)
Comrade General Stuck
Pig Latin for Festivus Pole. Don’t you elitists know nothing.
J. Michael Neal
In a classic bell curve, everyone is normal. You must be thinking of a t-distribution.
been a long fucking time since I’ve had to look up a word I saw on BJ. Fissiparous, really? I dont think that word fits here at all.
I think he meant "fo’ shizzle".
@Incertus: To be fair, the first season of Survivor was just twelve guys starving on an island. Not much scripting in that.
We have a black president. Normal has been handed its ass.
wanda sykes on the tonight show– "the dr. evil convention"
I’m at work and don’t have youtube access, but she gave the best takedown of this idea after the RNC.
"My hand is in the window, and my foot is in a grapefruit".
Normal has been handed its ass.
I’m going to use that.
Am I normal? White and Christian (and male), so I get normal points there. On the other hand, I’m unmarried, live in a (coastal!) city, and am a Christian of the eastern european and mediterranean variety, rather than the protestant megachurch kind. So that makes me pretty abnormal. Ultimately, I end up coming down on side of the Democrats.
Why can’t you be nice? You’re just regressing to the mean.
republicans are ‘normal’ only insofar as they’re not yet out about their proclivities and peccadilloes.
one of the reasons they’re on the decline is that it’s actually normal to have proclivities and peccadilloes, and now that enough ‘not normal’ people and groups are out and proud, it’s becoming more acceptable for everyone to have them, and be out about them, and the whole strait-laced-uptight-living-in-a-fantasy-world thing that republicans specialize in is crumbling because it really is okay to be true to yourself. it really won’t bring society crashing down.
unlike, say, letting people who’re cauldrons of inner turmoil because they’re so busy wrestling with their demons run the show. that doesn’t seem to work out at all, and may already have brought society crashing down.
Gregg is the new darling. That he just found his voice regarding borrowing and spending adds to his fresh appeal. His steering an earmark to a project that made him a few hundred thousand dollars is overlooked because of his brand-newness.
Leelee for Obama
This is so correct it should be a law of nature, also.
And besides, with all that good Champagne, it’s pretty normal to get fizzy in Paris, ain’t it?
I know. It’s so dumb, but it makes me giggle.
fissiparous? Someone’s getting his money from his word of the day dictionary.
It’s a little worse than that. People just assume that everyone has a complex. Guy next door cheats on his wife. Girlfriend’s brother has a criminal record. Co-worker’s "cousin" may not be here legally. When you stand up and say, "There is nothing dysfunctional with myself or my family!" it’s practically a proclamation of how screwed up you are. I mean, no one claimed to be more normal than Ted Haggard or Mark Foley or David Vitter, and yet you turn your back for a minute and they’re off dry humping the furniture.
It’s practically reassuring to see a guy with a divorce on his record or a few DUIs, if you can convince yourself this is the worst of it.
No one commented on this:
I mean, there hasn’t been a white Southern Democrat, since Al Gore lost Tennessee! The GOP IS the party of Southern white male (for Christ’s sake, look at a map of any of the last three elections). The only states the GOP wins consistently that aren’t talking secession are the Plains states where 10 people and 50,000 guns reside.
Did Barone’s column come out of a time warp from 1958?
Some of my best friends are abnormal.
My favorite story is about the president of the young college republicans—I don’t recall his name—was attempting to give a blowjob to a fellow republican after a party. Then, the other guy woke up.
I really take issue with the conservative claims of Christianity. They don’t follow Christ and His teachings. They follow Paul’s interpretation of Christ’s teachings, which, btw, are contradictory.
From my understanding, the Masters of the Universe back in the earliest days found Paul more to their liking than Jesus. Too sissified.
That they are primarily lizard-like people does.
Which immediately brings to mind, Young Frankenstein:
@J. Michael Neal:
This is actually just a flatter bell shape. I think you mean the binomial distribution.
I haven’t seen that video yet, but I totally know what you mean.
The fact that almost everyone who opposed the Civil Rights movement switched from Democrat to Republican is one of the GOP’s dirty little not-so-secrets.
The problem with the ‘Southern Strategy’ is that is only has ‘Southern’ in the title. When ‘Southern’ in this sense actually means "People who think the wrong side won the Civil War".
Dry humping the furniture would be staid and reassuringly conventional among Republican leaders these days.
Yeah, I admit I’ve been worried about this stuff with Obama ever since he clinched the nomination. Snorted coke 20 years ago? That can’t be all. How many of his interns has he propositioned? How many people has his wife killed in drunk driving accidents? Why is he still on his first wife? And how will we stay sane through the media shitstorm when something like that comes to light?
Barone is probably not even aware that the step-brother to this topic is "White Privilege". Take a look at the make up of the Senate and review the racial and social profiles of our past 43 presidents.
Continuing to view the difference between Dem and Rep as cultural or philosophical conveniently avoids the white-man-with-blue-eyes dynamic of political (and financial) power, fissiparous or not.
White man + rhizome = White Privilege
J. Michael Neal
No, I meant the t-distribution. It is possible to have a non-normal bell curve.
BTW, White Man + Rhizome = White Privilege
@Cyrus: Umm…actually, no.
My eldest pointed this out to me the other day when he was talking about a seminar he’s taking on Diversity and Democracy: nowadays, he’s considered to benefit from "white privilege" — to the point that the family is Episcopalian — yet several of his great-grandparents’ marriages must have been scandalous at the time. A poor Maine dirt farmer marrying a debutante from An Old Boston Family? A parvenu from North Dakota marrying into an established Chicago Family? Yeah, I *don’t* *think* *so*.
Since when has an Irish Catholic (to say nothing of a *Polish Catholic") been any kind of "white", not to mention a *Jew* being considered a "normal" member of society? Yet, in my lifetime, those claims have gone from radical claims to obvious. The definition of "white" has changed, and it hasn’t been through the bleach in the melting pot.
My computer is hanging, hence the double post.
OT: You techies out there worried about the Conficker worm for April 1?
Wile E. Quixote
I was able to infer the meaning by context but still had to look it up as I had never heard the word before. Does this mean I’m ignorant and have to become a wingnut? Damn! I don’t want to leave Seattle and move to Alaska or Alabama or Arkansas.
Are you saying we have bigger tails?
I just wanted to say, as the parent’s of a child with special needs, the wife and I hate the word normal.
A bit off-topic but, I can’t help but be amused by the ads for Pajamas tv that run along side the posts. First there is one featuring Steve Emerson and other assorted fans of the scary "Muslims are coming to kill us, everybody run for your lives, arrrghhhgh!!!!!" meme, and another breathlessly pleading for someone, anyone, to sign up as a "reporter" to cover their earth-moving "tea parties", both concerns seemingly oblivious to the collapse of the nation’s economy, and the disintegration of its two holy pillars–the car industry and Wall Street, both being kept on life support by the federal government. Is it still 2001 at Pajamas tv?
How does he explain all those normal people who voted for Jeanne Shaheen.
the Republican Party is the party of people who are
considered, by themselves and by others, as normal Americans
Does he have any clue how privileged he is compared to non-Whites? How easy his life is? Sorry, I don’t buy your line of argument at all. Strikes me as comparable to the wingnuts arguing that they had nothing to do with slavery, hence they shouldn’t have to put up with affirmative action – as if Jim Crow had nothing to do with nothing.
A Catholic priest wearing an adult diaper, a nun with a dildo, and a God-fearing REAL AMERICAN Evangelcial Preacher in a wet suit walk into a public bathroom, and the former US Senator from Idaho says, "What is this, a joke?"
Completely OT and this might just be snark, I’m really not sure but…
FDL is reporting that the Duchess County Clerk’s Office has confirmed that Tedisco’s people have filed an ex parte motion meant to investigate and overturn today’s election results should it not go his way.
I mean, could this be real?
@someguy: Did you hear that "whoosh"? Yeah, that was the sound of my point going over your head, I think.
I’m not white. My parents and I are from Jamaica. I dropped the christian thing so I could stay sane.
Meh, I guess I’m fine with being not normal.
And frankly, shoe-tapping, diaper wearing, dildo molesting old corporatists in wet suits turn me off. So much for my career as an Official Black Conservative. At least I’d have the good taste to not wear cocktail dresses before noon.
As the parent of an autistic child, amen. The word "mainstream," as in "We’ll mainstream him into a class that is completely incomprehensible to him but will save us money."
I especially liked the comment on Barone’s piece that told him to "stick his normal Americans up his coal chute".
@passerby: The IT department here says that they pushed out the virus checker update for the worm in October, and my home machine is at the same level as my work system. It’s been ages since I saw anything show up in a scan, anyway.
A priest in a diaper, a minister in a wetsuit, and a rabbi with a dildo walk into a bar…
You take it from there.
It might not go his way. Even Tedisco isn’t voting for Tedisco.
Oddly, centuries of a male-WASP-centered definitions of normal have left today’s young Caucasions feeling homeless. In the Atlantic’s requisite "post-racial" article, there were numerous examples of young, white males whining that they had no interesting culture to participate in. While Barone and other dinosaurs like their skim milk and Wonder Bread culture, they’ve managed to make everyone else seem interesting and left their children a legacy of "meh."
As a sometimes user of "five-dollar words" I have to defend Barone. There’s a difference between a world that will "do" and a world that accurately conveys exactly the point you want to make. There’s anywhere from 500,000 to a million words in the English language…why use less accurate words, especially when it’s just to avoid being accused of being a smarty-pants?
Well, OK…my late older brother would have said, "Barone’s got a Hundred-dollar mouth and a ten-cent ass." I guess the underlying meaning was about the same. The guy’s a punk.
By "normal," Barone means "dominant." Which, to the average conservative Social Darwinist, amounts to the same thing.
After all, if the untermenchen were "normal," they’d be rich.
Mike in NC
More like 1982 when Saint Ronnie had everything under control.
So, this is "normal?"
Both Atrios and Digby have linked to the FDL story, so I’m guessing it’s not a joke.
Holy shit. The election isn’t even over yet.
Are these people even more insane than I thought they were?
@Tyro: Do not overlook how far you get by being white, male, and Christian. Those are the big ones that count. All the rest is just details. The "norms" won’t start turning on you until all the non-white, non-male, non-Xtians have been properly put in their place.
signed: non-white, non-male, non-religious, non-heterosexual who marvels that she managed to be born right-handed and is at least "normal" in one way.
I think that this is a notion that the elites who have always run our country would like us to believe. I don’t buy it.
First Coleman now Tedisco. Welcome to republican normal, where elections ‘R’n’t us. Damn these a**holes.
The republican brand is so far beyond dead.
I’m sure it’s not a joke. I just find it hilarious that Tedisco isn’t allowed to vote in the CD in which he is running.
@gbear: There is no republican brand. No common cause. No leadership. No message. I honestly can’t tell you what the GOP stands for anymore. Thats the sign of a party thats on the verge of becoming the whigs.
OT: Scary part of conficker is not whether you are patched, it’s whether everyone else is patched. Doesn’t matter how fire resistant your home is if the rest of the neighborhood waters their lawn with gasoline.
On topic, there are times I take use of the fact that I’m white, blond haired, blue eyed, male. It makes the strange when it comes from me all that much more powerful when I prove how non-normal I am.
@jon: They stand for their biggest campaign contributors. Also, the military industry complex. Also, racism and assholes. Also, also.
While Barone may consider himself normal, there are a few statistics that make his normal not all that desirable from their espoused values point of view.
Blue states have higher levels of education
Blue states have lower divorce rates
Blue states have lower teen pregnancy rates
Blue states have lower incest rates
Blue states have lower domestic violence rates
So normal means what in his eyes and why would I want it?
In the 1970’s Bernardo Bertolucci made a magnificent film called "The Conformist." The lead character was a man who was molested as a child, who grew up fearing his own sexuality. He becomes a Fascist in Mussolini’s government. This is framed as an expression of his "yearning to be normal" — if he can find acceptance in the Fascist Party, instant "normalcy."
Most of the fanatic Limbaugh-listening Republicans I know are deeply afraid of their own place in the world. They cling to this "We R Nrml" idea as a way of stiff-arming what threatens them. The Republican Party, in this sense, is more of group-think form of anxiety-relief than an actual functioning political organization.
Thanks for the feed back. Conficker as the April Fool joke itself maybe?
How the hell did I get moderated? No dick drug references nor properly spelled soshulizm.
The people running the "tea parties" aren’t oblivious to our economic collapse. No one would have the free time for such nonsense without the unemployment rate spiking.
Tax cuts bitches!
Teh gay is evil! But IOIYAR!
Also, Goat Sodomy.
That’s sort of how I see it, too. They are desperately trying to convince themselves that they aren’t complete weirdos. And so they desperately point to how "normal" they are.
It’s kind of like people who start sentences with "I’m not a racist but…" When I hear that, I know exactly what I’m dealing with. And continually talking about how you’re "normal" pretty much tells me that you’re completely off your rocker.
And I’ll say what I said above again. Who the hell wants to be normal? I don’t. I want only to be extraordinary. And that’s what I strive for. "Normal" would be epic failure in the game of life, IMHO.
Oh, Republicans. Another dead-end theory.
Normal is much broader now. Normal is relative. It moves.
You bring up a fascinating angle here. It might explain why then people seek to join in with like-minded others, mistakingly believing that the larger the crowd (that they surround themselves with), the more right they are, which leads to their assumption then, that they are normal.
Poor Michael, valiantly defending the position of the few normal people left in this great land of ours, even using big impressive words that nobody else except maybe George Will knows to do so. Here’s an out of print flick that will raise sensitivity about this great enterprise.
History of White People in America.
(Harry Shearer, Fred Willard, Martin Moll, the usual suspects.)
I love my country, sniff, sniff, blubber, boo-hoo.
The exhibit the tendencies of somebody unsure of themselves. They see a confident leader in Obama who is embraced by many and scorned only by their small crowd of wackos. There are some others like independents that don’t love Obama but they are indifferent at best.
Anyway to feel normal they write these schitzo scribes about them being normal and anybody who isn’t like them are crazy. This is why they threaten to take their toys and secede. This is why they watch Glenn Beck and buy into the Limbaugh and Fox Network memes. They are confused why the ways of old don’t quite work like they used to. They can’t understand why the smears of terrorist and foreign black man islamist didn’t scare away the masses.
They need to feel normal so they write touchy feely crap like that. They can rip on the "granola eaters" in the Dem camp but those people do know who they are and are open minded to new ideas.
The idiots on the right are exactly the very thing they claim to despise in "liberals." They are the ones trying to change and destroy the USA by implementing totalitarianism and a system of destructive class warfare to keep their crappy status quo.
Apparently, in the NY GOP, normal means that you file a motion to declare you winner no matter that the election isn’t over yet and no matter the margin:
I’ve never heard of such a thing happening before the polls even close.
They say it but I don’t believe it. If they love this country they’d stop with the talk of uprisings, secession and try to find some common ground with Obama.
Brick Oven Bill
The difference between normal males and southern white males appears to be environmental rather than genetic.
This is a very interesting map of voting trends for white Democrats, by region. The one state I cannot explain is Wyoming.
"My God! There are 100 people in this room, and I’m the only one that’s normal!"
@Tony J: Phew. Funny shit.
@The Populist: Sometimes, in order to save what you love, you’ve got to hit it over the back of the head with a lead pipe, drag it into your basement, and hook a car battery up to its nipples till it loves you back.
Here’s a question for Michelle Malkin, cheerleader of death and destruction:
If you are the party of freedom why is it that you won’t let the opposing point of view register and post in your message board? What’s the matter? What are you afraid of? If your ideas are so much better, why do you care if I posted a counterpoint on your craptastic website?
If you love freedom so much, why not show us by demanding an end to the Patriot Act. Why not demand accountability from Bush for illegally spying on Americans?
If you people love fiscal responsibility why didn’t you hold Bush to the fire the way you do Obama? See, it’s a bit disingenuous to say one President must spend less when you NEVER, EVER challenged the Bushies and the GOP congress on their pork and spendy habits.
If you are so mad over forcing companies that take TARP dollars (A Bush initiative, FYI) to cap their exec pay, why is it you aren’t equally mad at Bob Corker and Richard Shelby for demanding that the rank and file blue collars take drastic paycuts. See, your guys were demanding that average workers take a cut in pay but not once did you idiots take them to task over such a ludicrous proposal. If it’s not okay for the execs it should be not okay for the workers too.
Isn’t this how Hitler took over? Why aren’t they mad…oh yes, they can’t play fair. It’s only about winning at any cost.
Facts is facts. Alexander Hamilton was part of the founding elite. Alexander Hamilton was a West Indian born bastard.
In modern times, Steve Jobs, whose birth parents were Caucasian and Syrian, and who was adopted by a mother of Armenian ancestry, probably does not fit Barone’s idiotic little vision of normalcy. Does it freakin’ matter?
And Barone is talking about something broader than the "ruling elites." He is making a phony and obnoxious claim about who is a more "legitimate" American.
I don’t see the literal truth of Barone’s statement to be offensive in the least.
It’s when you pair it with the unspoken "normal = good" assumption that it becomes offensive.
The "normal" folks are vastly outnumbered, so if the Republicans only ever want to try and engage them, they’re welcome to. Then they’ll end up staying a "minority party" in quite a different sense.
Hehe Zifnab…good one..
Where are these brave righties? They love talking about engagement and selling their "ideals" since they are so "superior" yet you never get a debate.
They either post trollish nonsense or they post hit and run stupidity about how evil liberals are blah blah blah.
It explains a lot, doesn’t it? Who defines "normal"? Isn’t that, all by itself, sort of nervy?
They write the exclusionary definition and that just naturally leads to them being within the definition.
You’re out, though! Sorry!
Liberals are rude, vulgar, and obnoxious. They are too stupid to add to a productive conversation ("Bush: Great President or Greatest President?" "How high should we hang the illegal immigrants once we catch them in the hundreds of bear traps we set along the border?") and often include insults that offend our non-liberal readership.
The PATRIOT Act is for our self-defense. Only a liberal would leave us perfectly defenseless while horrible Muslim extremists murder us in our beds. And what you call "accountability" I know is just more Bush-bashing witch hunts.
We did hold Bush to the fire, and he burned tax cuts. Besides, Bush’s deficits were far smaller than the Obama budget. You’re comparing an average $400 billion deficit to a $3.6 TRILLION dollar budget. Talk about apples to oranges. And Bush didn’t play games with the budget by rolling in the cost of Social Security or the Iraq War or by hypothesizing future AMT tax cuts.
Obama’s budget isn’t trustworthy, on account of him being all shifty and uppity and liberal.
Because unions are the problem. Skilled executives are the solution. If it wasn’t for those dastardly unions, GM wouldn’t be paying their workers $73 / hour in salaries and future projected expectations of retirement costs. Executives own the company. They should be able to pay themselves whatever they want. Union workers just take money for sitting around doing nothing. Executives do all the work and union workers get all the benefits. During the booming economy of the Bush years, this might have been ok. But now, in the Obama Recession, someone needs to start taking a haircut. And that someone is the middle class blue collar industrial worker who has been like a sponge on the economy for generations.
Damn liberal bastards.
@Brick Oven Bill:
Bill, Wyoming only has about 11 people in it.
It’s a lot of wide open spaces surrounded by wide open spaces.
It’s the Land of Cheney.
It’s mostly mountains and trees and dirt, which should be right up your alley.
Brick Oven Bill
This is what I do not understand InflatableCommenter. Usually people in places like Wyoming have little exposure to other cultures and project their own morals and principles onto others, making them somewhat naive. This is why I do not understand Wyoming.
Wyoming is also the land of oil shale.
I am still getting past the notion that "Roman Catholic" and "Republican" are supposed to meaningfully co-exist as mutually identical states. But that’s the problem with having been raised in Massachusetts. Quebecois/Irish stock. My grandmothers were both quite capable of telling tales of what it meant to be Not White despite having paler skin than some of the WASPs who treated them like shit for being the wrong kind of paleface because their Bible is longer and their preachers aren’t allowed to marry. Hell, the Quebecois grandmother had a double-whammy due to marrying a Canadian native back in the day when they stripped your US citizenship for the crime of marrying a foreigner. My Irish grandmother was merely able to tell me how she got beat up after school every day for being a filthy Mick.
A large chunk of family became white in their lifetimes. Election Day 1960. Trick is, blacks didn’t become white in November of last year. The ONLY reason my people left the underclass behind is the fact we’re pale enough to pass. We could’ve done everything else the same way, good, bad and ugly, but if we were born green-skinned, we’d still be fucked.
All of the above is why I find the very idea of my family being "normal" enough to be Republican so fucking absurd I can’t even breathe the thought.
My greatgrandfather — an Irish immigrant — would say whenever someone snubbed him “they wouldn’t do that to me if I was a Yankee”.
@Brick Oven Bill:
I grew up next door to Wyoming and my family spent a lot of time camping there when I was a kid. People there are pretty nice but they generally want to be left alone to lead their lives and will accord you the same privilege as long as you don’t go making snooty generalizations about them like you just did. Then you’ll get your ass whupped up one side and down the other.
Also, if you’re going to ride a horse, make sure the saddle is Western and not English.
Dick Cheney is an outlier. So is his wife.
It’s just like the men who in their own private hearts question their own sexuality are the ones who scream loudest against gays. They are the ones who go out of their way to be seen as manly men!
These guys have to keep screaming and screeching – trying to convince us (and themselves) that THEY are the normal ones.
That shtick is finally getting old to most of us actual normal ones (who are aware that the only truly "normal" thing about human beings is that every single one of us is different, and has something unique and different to offer this world). THAT is diversity and evolution folks. No wonder the regressives don’t get it.
You mean, like Dick Cheney?
Also, "Usually?" Really? Some data to prop up that little piece of complete nonsense you just pulled — kicking and screaming to stay in there — out of your ass?
Not necessarily. I don’t have a lot of fancy book larnin (never graduated college) and still pride myself on my decent vocabulary…and my ability to use spell check. Oh, and my atheism. Well, I don’t know if I’m proud of that, but it’s just there. Nothin’ I can do about it.
Baby Jesus Butt Plug
Leave me out of this!
J. Michael Neal
There’s only one degree of freedom for real Americans.
Here in Manchester NH, the Irish used to beat up the French-Canadians for not being "real" Americans – or, actually, because of high competition for the scarce mill jobs, and the millowners playing one group of immigrants off against the other, more newly-arrived.
One of my favorite lunchtime diners – an authentic Mexican restaurant, for added irony – is located on the streetcorner where, a couple generations ago, a young Franco-American was stabbed to death by an Irish-American worker for the crime of speaking French in public to friends who were in a band with him – it was sorta-kinda an accident involving a broken bottle that happened to end up in the victim’s jugular, following the command to "Speak American!"
The legacy of anti-French-Canadian bigotry – which btw is not exclusively white-on-white, as there was a LOT of intermarriage between Quebecois and Abnaki families in the Northeast, and the history of anti-Native eugenics legislation and practices in New England is both horrifying and mostly Orwellized out of pop history, and is part of why the Greek community were considered "real Americans" first – still contaminates local politics and business and social relations in this town.
But now far too many of the descendants of these same victims of bigotry – whose own parents & grandparents many of them still speak no English, and whose neighborhood public buildings are still signed in French – listen to Limbaugh and blame the [email protected] and other immigrants for the problems in the economy these past twenty years.
Plus ca change, as they say…
No, "others" don’t consider them normal, they consider them to be what the British call "bog-standard" which is unexceptional in every way. This isn’t normal, it’s run of the mill, it’s barely passing scrutiny by any standard. It’s a step up from knuckle-walking. It is, essentially, the lowest standard we have to tolerate without legal intervention.