June 28, 2001
11:17 AM   Subscribe

There are still plenty of idiots in politics. Besides Bush that is.
(Link borrowed from The Morning News)
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger (36 comments total)
"Northcutt said the men are "excellent orators" who were trying to pique the interest of their audience. "I am not an advocate of off-color humor in the presence of ladies, but in an audience devoid of those of the fairer sex, such humor is not out of place.""

next up: "racial jokes are in perfect taste when colored people aren't around."

posted by rebeccablood at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2001

Besides Bush that is.

Truly creative, a brilliant statement that never before appeared in the mind of any other human being. Better keep your phone line clear; the MacArthur people will undoubtedly be calling soon.
posted by aaron at 11:58 AM on June 28, 2001

Dick Harpootlian must be a made-up name. This is a joke, isn't it?
posted by dfowler at 12:12 PM on June 28, 2001

It's South Carolina - what do you expect? I'm sure, 100% sure, that racist jokes *are* okay to a great number of people there.

Social change happens slower down south, where the heat and humidity and scent of magnolia blossoms cloud up the mind. Don't get me wrong, now: South Carolina is a beeyootiful state. And there are enclaves of culture and sophistaction everywhere, even there. But the majority of the population is racist/sexist/homophobic/prejudiced, and that's not misstating the truth.
posted by acridrabbit at 12:28 PM on June 28, 2001

Dick Harpootlian must be a made-up name. This is a joke, isn't it?

Harpootlian is the South Carolina Democratic Party chairman. He is not, to my knowledge, made up.
posted by iceberg273 at 12:36 PM on June 28, 2001

Rebecca et al: how is the phrase "hot girls" wrong, off-color, prejudicial, discriminatory, evil or any other label you can throw at it?

More times than I can count, I've heard girls talking about hot guys all the time. Sure, they don't do it in congressional session, but, still, they're nothing wrong with actual words he said. Sure, perhaps it was boorish or rude to say them in that setting, but really...

This comment was right on the mark.

And what in the hell does MADD have anything to do with it? Is saying "I like a cold beer" an endorsement in any way of drunk driving?

This is ridiculous... This whole PC/thought-police thing has got to stop.
posted by fooljay at 1:01 PM on June 28, 2001

aaron: Shut up. I wasn't trying to be funny.


And you'd better believe that had I been trying to be funny, you would have been on the floor right now, rolling around in a puddle of your own urine.

(because it would have been so funny you would have peed yourself)
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 1:11 PM on June 28, 2001

Oh, man, TTT, your "defense" is even worse than your "offense"... Sometimes, ya gotta know when to quit when you're ahead around here...

Anyway, I'm with fooljay on this one. Did these two politicos say, "Go out, drink a six pack or two, then drive yourself home"? No, for heaven's sake, they merely remarked that cold (legal) liquor and hot (legal) women are appreciated by (most) men (I admit, I know nothing of the second, but have had my fair share of the former...). These were seventeen year old boys; didn't anybody ever hear of the basic public speaking device colloquially known as "ropin' 'em in" to capture an audience's attention before turning to a more serious message?
posted by m.polo at 1:20 PM on June 28, 2001

The state chairman of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers... William Roe
I didn't know Mothers Against Drunk Driving had a male chairperson. Does that represent a glass ceiling that broke while I wasn't looking?
posted by srw12 at 1:20 PM on June 28, 2001

T3, that comment is wholly unnecessary. Aaron thinks that people single him out for ridicule on MeFi, and while I have traditionally thought he was being a bit melodramatic, I now see his point. Anyone else you likely would have just ignored, as you should have done with this comment. I would start a MeTa thread here but it's been done.
posted by norm at 1:22 PM on June 28, 2001

aaron isn't being singled out for ridicule, he made an asshole comment. Yeah, I made a weak joke, I was aware of that when I made it.

No need to point it out and try to make me look like an ass for not being as witty and elevated as he obviously is.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 1:37 PM on June 28, 2001

...and I wouldn't have ignored it if anyone else had made it. I have no idea who aaron is and, until now, had nothing against him.

sorry to keep going on about this.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 1:39 PM on June 28, 2001

No need to point it out and try to make me look like an ass for not being as witty and elevated as he obviously is.

I agree. You're clearly capable of doing the job yourself.
posted by rodii at 1:42 PM on June 28, 2001

Now that I've actually read the link, I think that this is not necessarily stupid. Stupid is when lawmakers alter the law in a stupid way. Statements like these don't send any message, nor do they affect the lives of any of the boys in attendance. It was merely a throwaway gag, not well thought out, but I'm sure it fit well with the spirit of the group (except, I would guess, a large contingent of no-fun fundamentalists that always seem to dominate such gatherings). In fact, focusing on rhetoric like this serves a useful focus point for attention away from piss poor policies, which are continuously being passed by these crappy politicians, onto controversial statements, which have no enduring effect. Keep your eye on the ball.
posted by norm at 1:46 PM on June 28, 2001

Maybe the "idiots" are the MADD members who apparently think that beer and girls are somehow evil. Come on, people, it's just beer AND girls.
posted by Witold at 2:03 PM on June 28, 2001

Words are a symptom of a condition, and the words people use show them up in certain ways. Words can be extremely powerful, and I've got one eye on language at all times.

A lot of damage has been and continues to be done with "just" words.

If the words these politicians are using don't send any message *to you,* then maybe *you* are part of the problem.
posted by acridrabbit at 2:10 PM on June 28, 2001

It's South Carolina - what do you expect?

Perhaps you should keep both eyes on your language, then.

South Carolina is far, far from perfect. However, we're going through the same problems a number of states, north and south, and countries, are going through, and saying stuff like that is only going to harden attitudes against you.
posted by claxton6 at 2:21 PM on June 28, 2001

Maybe *seeing* *evil*, *pernicious* *intent* *in* *every* *throwaway* *remark* is the problem... Words are only the symptom of a condition when you're looking for people to behave in ways you've predetermined are "bad" - otherwise, they are only words and they only hurt if you let them. The worst damage being done to and with words is the relentless and common-sense-free way that every singe utterance by every single human in every single situation is now a cause for somebody to get their name in the paper by being offended, oppressed, abused or otherwise made less than crystal-meth-happy about some random remark.
posted by m.polo at 2:21 PM on June 28, 2001

Actually acidrabbit, I like to think of myself as part of the precipitate.
I indulge in neither of the mentioned vices but to suggest that the comment was inappropriate requires a dangerously low setting on the humor meter.
posted by Octaviuz at 2:23 PM on June 28, 2001

I like to think of myself as part of the precipitate.

I think that this is inappropriately geeky.
posted by iceberg273 at 2:29 PM on June 28, 2001

I don't know, pragmatically it may be that from true from time to time, it is in fact okay to make a comment based on the premise that as long as *some group* is not within earshot. but don't you think that's a pretty lame rule for conversation and commentary in general?

and therefore a pretty lame defense of anyone's *public* remarks? - rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 2:38 PM on June 28, 2001

(did anyone understand the above? I got hopelessly screwed up in preview, don't ask me how.

I meant this: it's dumb to say things in public that you don't want a considerable portion of the population to hear. it's even dumber for an apologist to use "that group wasn't present" as a defense for those words.

and m.polo: words shape how we think, and which ones are used and which ones are accepted are strong shapers and influencers of how we all see and interpret the world.)
posted by rebeccablood at 2:53 PM on June 28, 2001

rebecca, if women were in the audience, would the words still bother you, or is it the meek defense that irks you?
posted by machaus at 2:57 PM on June 28, 2001

acridrabbit: I sorta remember threads on here regarding:

1) A Minnesota legislator calling the Dalai Lama a cult leader, or a member of a cult; and

2) Washington state lawmakers failing to approve an anti-bullying bill because some considered it a pro-gay measure.

And don't give me anything about how the Dalai Lama wouldn't be invited down South, for instance. An across-the-street neighbor of mine once worked as an advisor to the man. I lived in the Deep South then. Still do. You can say that social change comes slower in the South in some respects, although not all. Don't have time to make a case for that, nor do I feel like it now. But this was an isolated incident.
posted by raysmj at 3:27 PM on June 28, 2001

my comment was about what I saw as a ridiculous defense for remarks that were perceived as offensive.

but let me tell you the truth, the remark rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't care a bit about the drinking thing; it was the "hot girls" remark.

now, normally, it wouldn't bother me a bit, but was a little sensitized right at the moment.

see, when you think about it, lots of this stuff is just a call: do I point out the inherent sexism in that remark, or do I let it go, understanding that probably the speaker didn't mean any harm?

in this case, at that moment, I saw a remark that implied that women were a reward for being in a particular party, and the thought implicit in *that* idea is that women don't have a substantive role to play in the party.

and before anyone says that the speakers were possibly implying that their party had smarter, stronger, faster, *and* hotter women, let's just put that to rest. of course they didn't mean that. they didn't think it through that far.

they meant "if you join my party, you'll get the chicks" or even "we're all for chicks - whoo!" let me go further and say that there's really not a thing wrong with that thought, or with saying it. it's just that if enough men say that, enough times, it starts to become true, do you see what I mean? if you hear something enough, you stop thinking about what it means, but the meaning acts on you anyway.

in this case, women are still fighting hard to be included in the first place - a remark like that is kind of a throwback. it becomes purely a joke at the moment that women are a ubiquitous part of the power structure on totally equal footing with men.

and I think it's sometimes a good exercise to replace an "innocuous" reference with one that's accepted as being repulsive (like a racist one) to see how it comes out; just as a little test.

so I made my original point and applied my little test all at once. that's all. would you feel comfortable if either of those politicians had said they were in favor of "beer and mexican day-laborers", and if, in their defense, someone had said that as long as no mexicans were in the room, there's no harm in such a remark?- rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 3:28 PM on June 28, 2001

rcb, I know cheerleading is frowned upon, but thanks for parsing that out...
posted by machaus at 3:38 PM on June 28, 2001

The comment made about women not being in the room was said because the speaker was making an off color joke, which he believed would crack the sensitive minds of woman, I suppose. It was not because it was a disparaging remark toward women, Rebecca, though you may still feel it to be. So the racist analogy doesn't really hold. At least if we are to believe the quote given. (It's still kind of offensive, in a weird old fashioned chauvanist way)
I think everyone should just step back a second and realize that he was making a joke. Maybe a dumb joke, but a joke nonetheless.
And besides, we all know the attractive women are all left leaning.
posted by Doug at 3:42 PM on June 28, 2001

Words are a symptom of a condition, and the words people use show them up in certain ways.

While that's true, the phrase "hot women" is no more symptomatic of any malady than the phrase "cold beer" or "nice day" or "red car".

A remark about outer beauty does not strip the subject from any inner abilities or beauty or reduce someone or objectify someone. Anyone who thinks that should study some fine art.

If the words these politicians are using don't send any message *to you,* then maybe *you* are part of the problem.

I have to tell you, you sound here a little too close to the PC thought police line here. I often find women who I find "hot" although I tend to think of them as cute because hot is such a 70s-80s-90s word (might as well say "foxy"). That only ADDS information to what I already know or will know about a person. It does not in any way make them a sex object.

Part of the problem is, as Rebecca pointed out, the sensitivity to sexism which DOES exist. I don't deny for a second that it's out there. It is. But me saying a girl is "hot" is not sexist. Sorry.

do I point out the inherent sexism in that remark,

Rebecca, there was none inherent in the remark although that's not to say that the speakers weren't sexist. It's just that those two words didn't prove it.

Would it be sexist of me to comment that you and Jesse looked great in your pictures? Would it be sexist of me to say you both looked hot? Or cute?

in this case, at that moment, I saw a remark that implied that women were a reward for being in a particular party, and the thought implicit in *that* idea is that women don't have a substantive role to play in the party.

Wow, now I understand why you got upset. I didn't see it that way at all. I read it to say the same as if I said that I was "for a certain bill". Or "I'm all for cold beer". An explicit agreeement with fact.

If you read, you'll notice that none of their words contradict this, but that the reporter, who may or may not have also been sensitised to sexism by something else, wrote:
Harpootlian and McMaster opened a June 11 debate at the Boys' State leadership camp at The Citadel by arguing over which party had better access to beer and girls.
Those are the reporter's words with no direct quotes to substantiate them.

I won't say you're wrong or I'm wrong here, because frankly we don't know. All I know is that I did not read it that way at all...

would you feel comfortable if either of those politicians had said they were in favor of "beer and mexican day-laborers",

No, because as we all know, mexican day laborers are illegal. Hot women are not.
posted by fooljay at 4:01 PM on June 28, 2001

in addition, I do agree that it was probably inappropriate for the forum, as you point out, rebecca.
posted by fooljay at 4:03 PM on June 28, 2001

"I find it hard to believe that any mature adult would say this,"

I'll just bet you do.

Allowing *any* mature adult, but especially an elected official, to say something jocular like this in front of teenagers is outrageous.

The only way teenagers will ever understand how dangerous beer and sex are, is if we all start taking the subjects much more seriously. No more jokes! Time to get serious! Stop laughing!

People who think there is anything funny about beer and sex shouldn't be allowed to hold public office.

Does Mr Harpootlian's mother know that he uses phrases like "hot chicks" in front of teenagers? I think she should wash his mouth out with soap! It's scandalous!
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:04 PM on June 28, 2001

anyone know the only u.s. president that was arrested while in office?
posted by clavdivs at 6:33 PM on June 28, 2001

Love Google... This says two were arrested while in office: Grant and Pierce.

Another interesting tidbit: Richard Milhous Nixon was the
first U.S. President whose name contains all the letters from the word "criminal." William Jefferson Clinton is the 2nd.
posted by fooljay at 6:50 PM on June 28, 2001

And George W Bush is just one anagram for Show-e-Bugger, but more to the point, part of the reason we can sit here and have endless arguments over what should be said and what shouldn't is because we have, it seems, forgotten the graceful art of ignoring people.

I ignore people all the time. It's a great way to take stress out of your life. So what if two elected officials spoke to their audience as if they were at a Chico State frat party? Their remarks seem to be directed more at the prepubescent crowd (ergo Chico State) than 17 year olds. Lots of the kids I went to high school with were already drinking and screwing around, and would, in the Citadel boys' situation, most likely have yawned, groaned, or slapped their foreheads, wondering "Why am I here? And who are these two dolts? Somebody elected these guys?"

When somebody makes a thoughtless remark, whining about how stupid it is just calls more attention to the idiots, and generally brings scorn on the whiner (it certainly has in this string of comments). Ignore the dipsticks and they shall not be heard! Yay!
posted by Bixby23 at 7:52 PM on June 28, 2001

didnt know about pierce, what fer(as i doubt it he was arrested) Grant was pulled over his first couple of weeks as president. He was pulled over and given a fine. He paid the twenty $ fine on the spot and was let go. As a side note, the officer was an African-american. The source i got the grant info said he was the only president arrested. cool sight fooljay, thanxs.
posted by clavdivs at 8:43 AM on June 29, 2001

Hmmm, inner voice, outer voice. Hrrrmmm

You see, U.S. Presidents are a specialty of mine. I went to Academic Games Nationals twice way back in 6th-7th grade, finishing as high as second.

Okay, now I feel like a complete and utter geek in the worst sense of the word. I'm gonna go find someone to beat up...
posted by fooljay at 10:25 AM on June 29, 2001

It's been a while since high school, so I may be disremembering things: Isn't Boys State supposed to be some sort of gathering of young men who have been singled out as potential future leaders (base on their excellence in academics and extracurricular activities)?

The people I knew who participated in Boys State were very interested in politics, leadership, power, etc. and would have easily been influenced by the leaders of the state's political parties.

If this dynamic is still in effect, would these callow Carolingian youths absorb some sort of notion that, since their idols were endorsing alcohol and sex (and no matter how you define "hot", it comes down to sexual attraction), the pursuit of such activities is somehow lofty? And if so, why not get an early start? Suck on a longneck and jump into the General Lee to cruise for Daisy? This might be what MADD is mad about.
posted by joaquim at 11:12 AM on June 29, 2001

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