Through The Static

June 29, 2008

Hussein in the MemBrains: SoLidarity in the PoLarity?

Filed under: Activism,Grassholes,Idiots,Politics,Wake Up Call — bobbleheadedbob @ 11:22 pm

BobbLebot is in the process of changing its planetary address so shall be out of commission.  Humanoids, reJoiCe!  (though this victory shall only be TEMPORARY…!)

Oy(L).  Sometimes the BobbLebot can compute how humanoids have arrived to conclusions of solidarity, what their ultimate designs are, especially in the interests of electing the first humanoid of color into a White Supremacy House…and yet, the rationale is troubling.

As reported by the New York Times,

Obama Supporters Take His Name as Their Own:

Bama Supporters

Interesting.  Oh, Bama supporters,what pale skin you have!  Love how the token tan man and the one woman are pushed out off center and to the side.  It really crystallizes and drives home what this campaign is all about.

Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com, mimicking her boyfriend and shocking her father.

“Emily Hussein Nordling,” her entry now reads.

With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name.

The result is a group of unlikely-sounding Husseins: Jewish and Catholic, Hispanic and Asian and Italian-American, from Jaime Hussein Alvarez of Washington, D.C., to Kelly Hussein Crowley of Norman, Okla., to Sarah Beth Hussein Frumkin of Chicago.

Auuuugh…  HolyTropicThunderRobertDowneyJr.  DammitGwynethPaltrowIamAfrica.  OhMyHeteroFratBoyWearingAThisIsWhatAFeministLooksLikeTshirt.

::gasp – !::

So this is what solidarity looks like?

::strikes a mechanized pose::

Oy(L).

Mr. Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim. Hussein is a family name inherited from a Kenyan father he barely knew, who was born a Muslim and died an atheist. But the name has become a political liability. Some critics on cable television talk shows dwell on it, while others, on blogs or in e-mail messages, use it to falsely assert that Mr. Obama is a Muslim or, more fantastically, a terrorist.

Let’s deconstruct this paragraph, shall we?  The first two sentences assertively distance Obama from Islam.  How?  By first asserting he is a Christian, NOT a Muslim. In the second sentence, Obama INHERITED his name – he couldn’t help it.  What’s more – ! – the person who gave him his Muslim name wasn’t even properly Muslim!  Oh, the injustice of FATE!

Obama couldn’t HELP being born with a Muslim name, just like ur best friend’s big sister couldn’t HELP being gay.  She was born with it.  She couldn’t help herself.

Third sentence: fact.

Fourth sentence: a projection of something beyond innocent indignance.  Translation: how can these bad bloggers and pundits POSSIBLY label Obama as a TERRORIST?!  This is RidiCuLous!  He isn’t even a real MusLim!  <— Oooooooooooh… hey, hold up, there, leftie-loosey — let’s not get all righty-tighty on issue just yet.

Why?  This frames Muslim affiliation as a pathogen of sorts that Obama needs to be absolved of.  To use an anaology, let’s use Nemo and his gimpy fin.

gimpy fin

Following that same logic, it’s like getting Dorrie and Nemo’s clownfish dad to voluntarily tuck one fin to the side, in a symbolic gesture of solidarity to Nemo’s HANDICAP.  Cuz that’s what Obama’s name is: a handicap.  A malfunction.  So to get (mostly) White people (though non-Muslims-of-color are involved as well) to take on the middle name of Hussein on their Facebook profiles and email signatures — isn’t that a little… no, patriotic’s not the word, what was it… oh yeah — PATRONIZING?!

“I am sick of Republicans pronouncing Barack Obama’s name like it was some sort of cuss word,” Mr. Strabone wrote in a manifesto titled “We Are All Hussein” that he posted on his own blog and on dailykos.com.

And We Are All Africa.

It’s one of those things that just takes off, because everybody got it right away,” said Stephanie Miller, a left-leaning comedian who blurted out the idea one day during a broadcast of her syndicated radio talk show and repeated it on CNN.

Ms. Miller and her fellow new Husseins are embracing the traditionally Muslim name even as the Obama campaign shies away from Muslim associations. Campaign workers ushered two women in head scarves out of a camera’s range at a rally this month in Detroit. (The campaign has apologized.) Aides canceled a December appearance on behalf of Mr. Obama by Representative Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim congressman.

OY.  So how do we solve this conundrum?  Islam’s been pathologized, so the Obama campaign responds to it like it IS a pathogen.  A virus.  So Obama supporters attempt to create a vaccine of some sort — take a portion of the germy cultures, multiply it in internet petri dishes, and then fight to innoculate the Islamophobia.  At the same time, are they the right people to do this?

The thing is, We Are Not All Africa.  Dorrie and Nemo’s clown fish dad don’t really have gimpy fins — and can untuck them at a moment’s notice.  Or when Dorrie forgets.  Gwyneth Paltrow and Lucy Liu can erase their face paint — I mean, after the photo shoot’s over with, how African are they, really?  What exactly does it mean, “We Are Africa”?  Does it mean that “We” (the privileged celebrities) all bleed the same blood?  If so, what does this all really mean, when we don’t even drink the same water, eat the same food, work under comparative conditions of labor?  Who is “we”?  What is “we”?  Can we truly be a “We” if we can readily access a towel to wipe off the face paint, if we can jet out of Zambia the second this sh*t gets too hot?

Doesn’t this come off as disingenous and patronizing to any of y’all???

Why is there a need for the solidarity of the privileged for something that’s perceived as undesireable to be legitimized in the eyes of the many?

The thing is, the middle names on the Facebook profiles can be deleted as quickly as you can log in another status update.  No.  No.  We are not all Hussein, and can’t know what it is to be a Hussein.  Unless we were born as a Hussein.  Lived as a Hussein.  Interacted with the world as a Hussein.

This is as bad as Tyra Banks living on the streets for a day.  The thing is, Tyra, you can go back home to your comfortable-arse bed and 3-million-dollar home at the end of the day.  The thing is, all you faux-Husseins can erase your names as soon as the campaign’s over, Clovers.

Solidarity?  For reals?  THIS is what solidarity looks like?  Okay, fine, then.

So what’s the point in having this breed of solidarity when the campaign can’t even swallow solid food?

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1 Comment »

  1. Pretty amusing that they’re taking back Hussein. It’s just sad that his middle name is such an issue to begin with. The BobbLebot’s going out of commission temporarily huh? Me too, I came home to find my computer jacked, so my presence might be limited till I get it fixed (hopefully this week). But I’ll be back…

    Comment by disciplepete — June 30, 2008 @ 10:34 am | Reply


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