September 10, 2010

Presiding while black

I was a kid when the film Blazing Saddles came out. I begged my mother to take me to the theater in Huntington and both of us wound up laughing until our sides hurt. I rarely go more than a week or two without using or at least thinking about some line from it.

(At one point, I had to bribe my son into not using a line from it, but that's another story.)

After Barack Obama was elected president, I thought it might be fitting to declare Blazing Saddles our national movie. My daughter and I sang the theme song on election night.

But there seem to be some differences between the Hollywood version and the real one, which maybe we should call the Fox News version. After a rocky start, Cleavon Little's character Bart eventually succeeded in winning over the people of Rock Ridge. As the theme song went, "he conquered fear and he conquered hate."

A sizable segment of the American population isn't having it. They seem to detect something just a bit different about this president. Maybe it's his alleged religion. Maybe it's his imagined place of birth. But maybe there's something else, some other quality about that new sheriff that just doesn't sit right.

I wonder what it could be. Here are a couple of suggestions, one from the UK Guardian and one from the Charleston Gazette.

KEEPING THE CUSTOMERS SATISFIED. Earlier this week (I think), I linked a New Yorker article about some oil billionaires funding lots of fun and games on the right. The West Virginia News Service just ran a story that pointed out that one recipient of their largesse is the economics department at WVU, long noted for its promotion of "unleashed" capitalism.



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