Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

January 18, 2008

Their Idea of Funny

A Republican makes a joke:

William R. Farr was pretending to read telegrams congratulating this year's award recipient, University of Colorado President Hank Brown, when he pulled out a piece of paper and said, "I have a telegram from the White House."

Then he added, "They're going to have to change the name of that building if Obama's elected."

Witnesses said they could hear people gasp in the ballroom of the Adam's Mark Hotel.

"I gasped," said Gov. Bill Ritter, who was sitting at the table with Farr.

Mayor John Hickenlooper said, "I don't think he (Farr) intended any mischief or malice, but it was inappropriate."
There are the obligatory pooh pooh'ers like this one who dismisses it as political correctness:

When people become obsessively sensitive about every little thing they lose their sense of fun, and it becomes impossible to celebrate and enjoy human differences.
Uh, no, that "joke" was an attempt to define a man by the color of his skin. It's an attempt to point out why he's different, in the same way that conservatives are fond of calling him by his full name, with emphasis on the middle name Hussein.

Just think about it: if we actually called the White House, the "Black House" or the "Yellow House" or the "Red House" every time a non-white becomes its occupant, would it still be considered a "celebration/enjoyment" of human differences? How about calling it the "Christian House", the "Jew House" or the "Muslim House" based on religious affiliation?

Then there's John Cole who points out that someone like Chris Rock may be allowed to tell a joke like that but not a white man like Mr. Farr. Well, it depends on the context and the venue, John. Mr. Farr is certainly no Chris Rock, and neither is the National Western Stock Show's annual Citizen of the West banquet a night at the Improv.

Is Mr. Farr a bigot? I really don't know, but it's telling that what defines Barack Obama in Mr. Farr's mind is his blackness (although actually, Obama is as much white as black, his mother being Caucasian). Though it may not have been intended maliciously, I fully concur with the people who found the "joke" inappropriate and don't chuck it to mere "political correctness".

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posted at 7:01 AM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
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Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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